Former Club Brugge boss takes over at Ibrox
Philippe Clement has been named as the new manager of Rangers, the Scottish Premiership club announced on Monday. The 47-year-old Belgian has signed a three-year contract with the Glasgow giants, replacing Steven Gerrard who left for Aston Villa earlier this month.
Clement joins Rangers after a successful spell at Club Brugge, where he won two league titles and reached the knockout stages of the Champions League. He also has experience of coaching in Scotland, having worked as an assistant to Brendan Rodgers at Celtic in 2016.
“I am delighted and honoured to be the new manager of Rangers,” Clement said in a statement. “This is a huge opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started. I have always admired Rangers from afar and I have been impressed by the progress they have made in recent years.”
Clement faces tough challenges ahead
Clement will face a number of challenges in his new role, as he tries to maintain Rangers’ dominance in Scotland and compete in Europe. The club are currently top of the Premiership, four points ahead of Celtic, but have lost their last two games in the Europa League.
Clement will also have to deal with the uncertainty over the future of some key players, such as captain James Tavernier, striker Alfredo Morelos and midfielder Glen Kamara, who have been linked with moves away from Ibrox. He will also have to adapt to a different football culture and cope with the intense pressure and expectations of the Rangers fans.
Clement said he was aware of the challenges ahead, but was confident he could overcome them. “I know this is a big responsibility and I am ready for it,” he said. “I have a clear vision of how I want to play and how I want to win. I have a lot of respect for the history and tradition of this club and I want to make the fans proud.”
Rangers welcome Clement as ‘perfect fit’
Rangers chairman Douglas Park welcomed Clement as the new manager, saying he was the “perfect fit” for the club. Park said Clement had been chosen after a thorough and extensive search process, involving several candidates from across Europe.
“Philippe was our first choice and we are delighted that he has agreed to join us,” Park said. “He has a proven track record of success, both domestically and internationally, and he shares our ambition and vision for the future of Rangers.”
Park also thanked interim manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who had been in charge for the last three games, for his contribution and professionalism. Van Bronckhorst will remain at the club as an assistant to Clement, along with Gary McAllister and Michael Beale.
Clement vows to continue Gerrard’s legacy
Clement paid tribute to his predecessor Gerrard, who had led Rangers to their first league title in 10 years last season, ending Celtic’s run of nine consecutive championships. Clement said he had a lot of admiration for Gerrard and his achievements at Ibrox, and vowed to continue his legacy.
“Steven did a fantastic job here and I have nothing but respect for him,” Clement said. “He left behind a strong and talented squad, which I am looking forward to working with. He also set a high standard of performance and professionalism, which I intend to maintain and improve.”
Clement added that he had spoken to Gerrard before taking the job, and received some advice and encouragement from him. “He wished me all the best and told me to enjoy this amazing opportunity,” Clement said. “He also told me to be myself and trust my instincts.”
Clement’s first game in charge
Clement’s first game in charge of Rangers will be on Saturday, when they host Hibernian at Ibrox in the Premiership. It will be a crucial match for both teams, as Hibernian are currently third in the table, six points behind Rangers.
Clement said he was looking forward to his debut on the touchline, and hoped to make a positive impression on the fans. “I can’t wait to experience the atmosphere at Ibrox and feel the support of our fans,” he said. “I know they are passionate and loyal, and I want to give them something to cheer about.”
Clement also said he was eager to meet his new players and staff, and start working with them on his ideas and plans. He said he had already watched some videos of their previous games, and was impressed by their quality and potential.
“I have seen enough to know that we have a great team here, with a lot of talent and character,” he said. “I am excited to get to know them better and help them improve even more. We have a lot of work to do, but we also have a lot of fun ahead.”