Philippe Clement lifts lid on talks with Rangers board, provides injury updates, and admits team is at 'end of cycle'

Rangers manager planning summer changes after Celtic title win

Philippe Clement has admitted that Rangers are at the “end of a cycle” and promised big summer changes with the backing of the board after failing to prevent Celtic from clinching a third successive Scottish Premiership title.

Celtic were officially confirmed as champions following a 5-0 win at Kilmarnock on Wednesday leaving Rangers six points behind with only one match remaining to finish as league runners-up for a third season in a row.

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Clement took over the Ibrox side in October following the sacking of Michael Beale when they were already seven points adrift but his side looked set to close the gap when they got themselves into a position of being four points behind with two games in hand last month.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement says there will be changes in the squad this summer. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Rangers manager Philippe Clement says there will be changes in the squad this summer. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Rangers manager Philippe Clement says there will be changes in the squad this summer. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

However, a 3-2 defeat at Ross County was followed by a goalless draw at Dundee to wreck their hopes of going top, with a 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park last weekend allowing Brendan Rodgers’ side the breathing space to secure the title with a game to spare.

"Disappointed as I wanted to become champion,” Clement said as he faced the media on Friday. "We could not close the gap enough, we need to leave that behind us and look at how to make us better moving forward which we are very busy with.

"I had really good talks with the board about what to change towards recruitment and we are aligned. We have plans and we now need to execute them. We are busy looking at all the departments and what we can make better to improve next season.

"I am really convinced that the people in the club want to make steps forward, work hard and be honest about what is going wrong in the club. Everyone is really engaged to make things better. I know there are emotions now which is normal. We are all very ambitious.”

Rangers are expected to overhaul the squad this summer with out-of-contract midfielder John Lundstram, who drew the ire of supporters following his own goal and red card in the Old Firm defeat, among a number of expected first-team departures.

"There will be changes, we need changes,” Clement stressed. “I think we are at the end of a cycle as a club. We need to change some things and I want to end this cycle with a really big moment next Saturday at Hampden.”

Rangers conclude the league campaign away to Hearts on Saturday before taking on Celtic in the Scottish Cup final next weekend. Clement revealed Abdallah Sima and Ryan Jack will return from injury for the trip to Tynecastle, but a number of players remain sidelined. John Souttar, Connor Goldson, Borna Barisic, Tom Lawrence, Oscar Cortes, Rabbi Matondo and Danilo are all ruled out by injury while Leon Balogun remains a doubt.

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"Sima will be back in selection to play some minutes, very little as his first step back,” he said. “Ryan Jack is also the same. Leon Balogun is a question mark for tomorrow but is close to returning.”



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