Philippe Clement 'still curious' over Rangers' potential after winning response to Old Firm defeat

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Philippe Clement is “still curious” about the potential of Rangers after they went into the winter break with a bounce-back 3-1 win over Kilmarnock and still on the heels of Celtic.

The Belgian had lost his first game as Gers boss since taking over in October in the narrow 2-1 Old Firm defeat at Parkhead on Saturday but late first-half goals from wide-men Ross McCausland and Abdallah Sima at Ibrox on Tuesday had the Light Blues in control at the break.

Danny Armstrong reduced the deficit in the 58th minute with a penalty awarded after VAR intervention but Todd Cantwell soon restored the two-goal cushion to keep them eight points behind cinch Premiership leaders Celtic with two games in hand.

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The Gers players will enjoy a few days off before going to Spain for a training camp next week.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement says he is curious to see the full potential of his teamRangers manager Philippe Clement says he is curious to see the full potential of his team
Rangers manager Philippe Clement says he is curious to see the full potential of his team

Clement has already brought the Viaplay Cup back to Ibrox and guided the club into the last 16 of the Europa League and was asked about the potential of his squad.

He said: “I am still curious. I am happy that you speak now about the potential of this team.

“Eleven weeks ago, I heard a lot of people saying there was not potential enough in this team to do what Rangers needs to do.

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“So it is positive that so many players are growing, and that is what I want to see.

"I will keep a close eye, together with my staff, on who are the players staying ambitious, who are the players who are pushing. There are a lot of good examples in that way.

“You have a young lad (Ross McCausland) who was just in the academy and now he is playing really regular in the first team because he is performing.

“Kieran Dowell, Dujon Sterling, who are now playing in other positions. They have done that for the team, or else they wouldn’t play.

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“So, I think this team is in a really good way. The dressing room also.

“The atmosphere every day within the building, with the training, the ambition in the training.”

Clement has been pleased by the manner of his side’s reaction to the Old Firm defeat on Saturday and feels the ‘winning mentality’ of his players has improved markedly.

“After our first defeat, which we knew would come one day, the reaction was how I wanted it. We looked at what we had to do to make good, to analyse what went wrong, what we could do better,” said Clement.

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“I’m happy that everybody is saying they see a different team now with more of a winning mentality.

“I see more and more quality and that the team understands better and better how I want to see football, how I want to see them run together, how I want them to create spaces for other players. It becomes more and more fluid.

“If the players keep on working, stay attentive, stay concentrated then after a while it becomes more natural for them.

“So there are really positive things. It’s not about being satisfied. It’s about being ambitious to get better.”