Philippe Clement hails his Rangers record-breaker and makes 'is it Celtic' quip after win over Hibs

Manager is keen to hail Tavernier for becoming Britain’s all-time goalscoring defender

Rangers manager Philippe Clement lavished praise on his captain James Tavernier as the right-back became the top-scoring British defender of all time with 131 goals after netting in the 3-1 win over Hibs.

Tavernier – who had earlier missed a penalty – fired Rangers into the lead on 27 minutes to get the ball rolling at Ibrox. Myziane Maolida levelled in first-half stoppage time, only for Cyriel Dessers to restore the lead before the break. Substitute Rabbi Matondo wrapped up the win late on but it was Tavernier who hogged the headlines, surpassing fellow full-back and accomplished spot-kick taker Graham Alexander in the defensive scoring charts in the UK.

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“It’s an amazing achievement,” said Clement, “especially as he still has a couple of years to go so he can only make this record bigger and bigger. If you speak about the full history of football then you cannot imagine how many good defenders and how many defenders with good attacking qualities who have played the game.

Rangers captain James Tavernier now sits on 131 goals after his strike against Hibs.Rangers captain James Tavernier now sits on 131 goals after his strike against Hibs.
Rangers captain James Tavernier now sits on 131 goals after his strike against Hibs.

"To be there on top – it’s an amazing achievement and we’re all proud of him. I said it in the dressing-room also after the game. I don’t too often point out individual players, I don’t like it too much, but I had to do it this time. All the players are really proud of him, all the staff and the fans and everybody involved with Rangers. It’s really quite exceptional.”

Clement was pleased with his team’s performance over Hibs and how they responded swiftly to the concession of Maolida’s goal. “It was very satisfying to see the way we played because Hibs have a good team,” continued the Belgian. “They’re on a good run after making good transfers in January. But we played a dominant game and were in control throughout.

“It’s a pity that we lost a goal from their only shot on target against us. But the reaction was very good and that’s been our strength this season. So there were a lot of positives today. The way we played, created chances and scored goals. You see the solidarity, hunger and desire we have to do the right things. And with good performances, the results come. That’s how it works.”

Rangers moved back to the summit of the Premiership with this win, although Celtic can regain that position if they beat Livingston on Sunday ahead of the Old Firm showdown at Ibrox next weekend. Clement was quizzed on his team’s next match and how ready they are for the challenge. “Is it Celtic?” he quipped. “I’m confident we can win against everybody. Are we at our best now? No. We had all the injuries and some players are not there at their best yet. But I also know that we can win that game and we have the quality to do that. It’s also not the decisive ending game of the season. We still have eight games to go. So, I’m focused on the next one and after that it will be the next one again.”



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