Philippe Clement likens Rangers' feat to Olympics as he tells Euro heroes to stay humble for Aberdeen

The Gers manager knows Dons will carry huge threat in Viaplay Cup final

Rangers manager Philippe Clement has told his players to park their Europa League heroics and stay humble ahead of Sunday’s Viaplay Cup final.

Rangers reached the last 16 of the competition when they beat Real Betis 3-2 in Seville on Thursday to claim top spot in Group G. It was the first time a Rangers team had won an away game against Spanish opposition in Europe and a first home defeat of the season for a Betis side that had drawn with Real Madrid earlier in the month. Clement has now gone 13 games unbeaten since replacing Michael Beale but the Belgian knows that silverware is the true litmus test for Rangers managers and he has the chance to succeed at the first attempt on Sunday.

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Rangers take on an Aberdeen team that have taken seven points from the last four league encounters between the clubs. The Dons secured a similar pre-Hampden boost on Thursday when they rounded off their Europa Conference League campaign with a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, the team that beat Rangers in the 2022 Europa League final.

Philippe Clement's Rangers team overcame Real Betis 3-2 in Seville.Philippe Clement's Rangers team overcame Real Betis 3-2 in Seville.
Philippe Clement's Rangers team overcame Real Betis 3-2 in Seville.

When asked what his own side’s result and performance could do for his team going into Sunday’s match, Clement said: “Nothing. For me there’s no difference if we would have won or lost. It’s a different game. Of course it will give confidence but we need to keep our feet on the ground. It’s a totally different game, different opponents. But the biggest gain is everybody feels in the dressing room if they stick together and work hard that they get the rewards. But it stays one game of football. We are going to go really hard to win this first trophy but we need to be humble also.”

Clement did concede that Thursday’s win would set a new benchmark for his side. “There were a lot of records to break,” said the former Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco manager, whose team took the lead three times against Betis, the final time through Kemar Roofe in the 78th minute. “It’s a little bit like if you go to the Olympics and you do the high jump and you put the bar that high that everybody thinks ‘that’s impossible to do it’. And you jump over it. And that’s what the boys did, by doing the right things with and without the ball, being brave, never giving up and showing quality on the ball. This needs to be a reference for the rest of the season – to stick together and you see we can do amazing things together.”