Rangers boss Philippe Clement lifts lid on Glasgow walk and Man City desire - 'even the Celtic people were friendly, yes'

The Ibrox boss shared pleasantries with the public on a rare city-centre outing and wants to win from front against Hearts

Nobody could ever accuse Philippe Clement of trying to hide. It would be entirely understandable should the manager of either of the two Glasgow behemoths choose to remove themselves from the public glare for fear of inviting abuse from rival supporters – or, even worse, from your own fanbase.

Clement, though, does not look like the sort of man who would shirk from an encounter as befits a personality that appears to combine a steely resolve with an inherent inclination to see the best in other people. Rangers’ hectic schedule has given him little downtime since he succeeded Michael Beale as manager but during one rare lull the 49 year-old chose to take the air around Glasgow city centre. There he encountered fans from both halves of the Old Firm divide, with the Celtic supporters seemingly as welcoming as their Rangers counterparts.

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“I had a walk for an hour-and-a-half in the city centre last week,” he revealed. “I was recognised a lot but it was all positive. Even the Celtic people were friendly, yes. Of course, I chatted with them. I am happy to engage. I have been a fan myself. I have been a child, I have gone to football games to ask for autographs. So why would I do something different towards people when I expected the same thing from them when I was small? It is normal in life. Mostly they wanted selfies. They didn’t speak long about football because they saw also that I was in a hurry and didn’t have much time.”

Rangers manager Philippe Clement took time to speak to fans on both sides of the Glasgow divide.Rangers manager Philippe Clement took time to speak to fans on both sides of the Glasgow divide.
Rangers manager Philippe Clement took time to speak to fans on both sides of the Glasgow divide.

Clement has quickly won over the majority of the Rangers support after starting his reign with three league victories and an away draw in Europe but his popularity will either skyrocket or nosedive depending on how his team fares at Hampden on Sunday. Rangers are the overwhelming favourites to claim this season’s Viaplay Cup with Celtic no longer in the running but first they must overcome Hearts in the semi-final on Clement’s first ever visit to the national stadium.

Rangers had to come from behind to defeat the same opposition in the league a week ago and Clement hopes his players can win from the front this time. “We had a fast start against Hearts,” he added. “Yes, they scored, but you don’t have control over these things. Then you need to react in a good way. Which we did. The perfect scenario is to score early. I prefer two or three goals! But you have to work to every scenario and react in a good way, that is the most important thing.”

Rangers have scored 11 goals in the three league games played on Clement’s watch, the Belgian revealing the main inspiration for his attacking approach. “For me, the kind of football that I love to watch is the football Man City plays,” he revealed. “But it doesn’t mean we are going to play that way. I want to make it really clear. We have to look at the qualities of our team and what the team really needs. That is most important. But even then, with all their qualities, it is not every game they score four or five goals. It is not that simple in football. So, we need to be efficient, do the right things and take our moments.”