Philippe Clement takes on Rangers-Celtic fall-out: coloured glasses, funny town, Fabio Silva, Dermot Gallagher and fan disorder

Rangers manager holds talks with Wolves loanee after his dramatic Old Firm debut

Rangers can go top of the Premiership on Wednesday night should they win against Dundee, but the fall-out from Sunday’s Old Firm match continues to dominate the narrative.

Granted, this was no ordinary Rangers-Celtic clash, the 3-3 draw leaving a trail of debris behind it: fan disorder, VAR statements and every pundit and their dog having their say on the performances of players and the comments from managers. And while Clement addressed the state of the Dens Park pitch and his desire for a quick call to be made on a postponement, his pre-match chat with the press centred on events from the weekend.

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First up was the criticism of Clement’s celebrations and his “moral victory” claim. Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon waded in on Monday to say that the Belgian’s assessment was “disappointing”. The Rangers manager put up a strong defence against those that wear “coloured glasses. “First, what happens with the team?” he retorted. “We go behind after 22 seconds. Then you go 2-0 behind in an Old Firm. It is more than 30 years since a team came back in that situation. We score in extra-time with a very good goal. You cannot be happy with that? It would be a little bit weird.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement assesses his players during training ahead of facing Dundee.Rangers manager Philippe Clement assesses his players during training ahead of facing Dundee.
Rangers manager Philippe Clement assesses his players during training ahead of facing Dundee.

"But I read a lot of comments. It is a funny thing, this town – everybody has coloured glasses for sure around the Old Firm. There are a lot of comments about everything, but I don’t care what people with coloured glasses are saying. It is not important for me. Yeah, we were happy that we could come back in that situation and that we showed resilience and we scored an amazing goal at the end. But before the game we wanted to win and in the game we wanted to win also. After the amazing goal we were the team who created still a chance, we were not the team who were defending. We can be happy after a well-deserved point. It could have been more, but it was more about the reaction after going behind.”

Criticism was not just reserved for Clement. Rangers’ 21-year-old forward Fabio Silva was called out for alleged simulation and behaviour that belonged at the Tisch School of the Arts rather than Govan. Some of the Wolves loanee’s histrionics, particularly in the first half, were laughable. But Clement has spoken since to the Portuguese and while he singled out a couple of incidents that he was not impressed with, he maintains that the award of a penalty early in the second half for a foul on Silva by Alistair Johnston, which was given by VAR, was the correct course of action.

Addressing the Silva criticism directly, Clement said: “It is not justified in everything because I see that some people, again with coloured glasses, throw everything on the same pile. But there were two actions which I was not happy with him about and I show him today also about that. He should have been stronger in the duel and he was not strong enough. And in other moments he got really kicked. He's also got two really deep marks in his calves after this game, cuts from the studs.”

It was put to Clement that some of the dramatics are borne out of coming from a different footballing culture. “No,” Clement said firmly. “Don't start to create now – and this is what people on the other side try to do – a sort of narrative around him, because he's not been doing that in other games. He was in the beginning an emotional young guy. Yes, he's 21, but it's getting better and better.

Clement has spoken to Fabio Silva in the wake of the Celtic game.Clement has spoken to Fabio Silva in the wake of the Celtic game.
Clement has spoken to Fabio Silva in the wake of the Celtic game.

“Because only if you have coloured glasses you say it's not a penalty. People who are neutral, or maybe even if they say they have coloured glasses, they say a neutral thing. I see the ref watch in England and Dermot Gallagher, who is neutral – although maybe people say he is more a favourite of Celtic, I don't know if it's true or not! – but he clearly says it is a penalty. So don't put a stamp on Fabio about that situation because he got kicked on the knee. That's the reality. It's a penalty.

"For him it was also his first Old Firm. It's the first time in this situation so those are normal things. We had a really good talk. I showed him the images, he understands. Those are the interesting lessons. Fabio took it in a good way and it's again making him better as a player. It will help him in the rest of his career.”

It emerged after the match that Celtic had written to the Scottish Football Association for clarification over VAR images shown to referee John Beaton over the Silva penalty incident. Clement is not interested. “I don’t have any comments about what Celtic want to do,” he said. “It’s their choice what they want to do. We had some things we can discuss and have our thoughts about. But in general I think the referee and the VAR were good in that game. We need to focus on ourselves and what other teams are thinking or doing is not important for me.”

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On that front, he is pleased that Rangers are trying to identify the culprits when it comes to objects being thrown at Celtic players, with coins chucked at the visiting dugout and a bottle of Buckfast unsuccessfully launched at Matt O’Riley. “I don’t want that things are thrown on the pitch, not at Ibrox,” he said We had it a few times at other pitches against us so it is not a good thing. So the club is busy with that, to see who is doing that. It is not what we want in our club.”

Clement will surely hope that whatever happens on Wednesday, the outcome will not be as controversial. But perhaps that is wishful thinking.



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