• Reaction to Dens Park passing pitch inspection
  • Updates on Ridvan, Diomande and Balogun
  • Backing his side to bounce back from Ross County defeat
  • Criticism of captain Tavernier

Philippe Clement has spoken to the media ahead of the fixture with Dundee. Here is what he had to say.

What is your reaction to the news the game will be played at Dens Park?

That the people who have decided that are sure that there will be a game tomorrow. That is a very positive thing.

Are there any concerns from you?

I am not a guy from the half-full glass or the empty glass. I think everybody knows and everybody knew also about taking this decision, how it was processed, how it was prepared. The people who decided to play tomorrow at Dens Park are 200 per cent sure that we are going to play there. They know the weather forecast and are certain that the pitch will cope with that. It is good. It is good for us to know where we will play and we can prepare that. It is now go ahead for this game. I think everybody – the people from Dundee, people from Rangers – are happy that we can finally play this game.

Is it good to be able to put this saga behind you?

Yeah, of course. We don’t have anything to say or to do with that. We can only focus on ourselves and on our football. We have some work to do with that also after the weekend where we were not happy at how we played, how we conceded goals, how we scored so few chances and that we lost points. All the focus has been on that.

What has the reaction been like from the players?

They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing. They understood. They went to the fans also and I think that is a big step forward, in the past they just stepped inside. It is staying together in that way and that is important from my side also that it is stays like that, also in the disappointment that we stay together. They were down after the game about the performance. I had some clear words after the game and the next day we had the briefing about what went wrong individually, collectively, and how we can make it better again. It is an off day I think you say in England. We can call it like that. It is the first time in six points that I see my team like that. I was disappointed also about that but I think every manager has these moments, even with teams that win amazing things. I have been watching the series about the treble of Man City of last year and I saw quite a few of those moments. It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday but it is part of the game. It is not something that you want, not the players, not the manager, not the fans, nobody. But the most important thing is how you react after that. I have a good feeling around that that I will see the real face of my team again.

You say it is an off day but you have dropped points to Motherwell, Celtic and Ross County so is that a concern at this stage of the season?

Motherwell was a freak accident, it could have been a game you win 6-1. We had enough chances there. It was an unlucky day. The Celtic game is a big game, we didn’t start well and we talked about that but had a great reaction and played a really good second half. In the end, a draw is deserved because each team had one half totally, we had totally the second half and the last chance also to win that game. This one was a bad one, that is true. So you need to react and show your quality.

Are players’ positions at risk because of that performance?

At risk is such a negative word. Of course I can change things and it is always looking what is the best team for that moment and also with the games to come. That is something that the fans do not always understand because they are always want to play with the best at that moment. If you play with the best, who comes out of injury and plays three games in a row you know the second game you get less and the last game you don’t get anything anymore at one moment. We need to take into account all of those things and the physical ability of the players. That has been the most difficult thing in the last couple of months, that we had so many players out and are now coming back out of injury. You see players coming back out of injury that the first time it is really good, second time it can be a little bit less because they are less fresh and they need to find this rhythm again. That takes time also. We need to take all of these things into account to every time pick the best starting team and also players coming in with freshness to win games.

Are there any players returning like Mohamed and Ridvan?

No. Ridvan is not returning and Mohamed, I hope to have him back for the cup semi-final. He will not be ready for tomorrow. Leon Balogun was sick the last couple of days so he is still not totally fit.

Is Ridvan any closer?

He is closer day by day. Those are the frustrating things of this season also, that you have Abda going to the national team and getting an injury there and being almost three months out. With Ridvan the same thing, not in an amount of time, but we lose him for three or four weeks now with injury. Those are the frustrating things but it is about others to do the job and to take the points.

You are conceding more chances than usual – is that due to an off day?

It had to do with structure, organisation, it had to do with so much will to attack and make the difference that we forget to do our basics. We talked about that. We didn’t do our basics anymore. We didn’t show our structure, what has been our strong point all season, and because of that we were the team who conceded the least goals although we played attacking football. Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you again what you need to do to be strong and not only think about the fine details but to stay in your foundation. It was with good will, with good intention, but we lost our structure in that way and we conceded goals that were, for sure, avoidable.

Are you looking at it as six games and if you win them all…

I hope eight. But I only look at one game – Dundee. Like we have been doing all season, and I hope Jack will do that also, like the rest of the team. The moment you start to think about six or eight or four weeks to go or five weeks to go and then it is holiday, then you will come in the shit. That is the worst thing you can do. Sorry to use that word. I am too familiar with you guys now! That is the baddest thing you can do and it is the same as three months ago. It is going game by game, going full. It is about that, that is the way they did it and the way they are in this situation now, to be fighting for still a lot of things. That is what I expect tomorrow from the whole squad, every second of the game to go full with all their energy and not to think about what is going on a few days after. That is for afterwards.

Has the result done anything for the players’ belief and have you had to work at that?

I don’t think so. If that is the case then you are not at your place at Rangers. If you lose your belief with one bad performance or losing points, then you are not ready for that and to fight for trophies, to fight for titles. It is just part of the journey. There is not one team in the world who wins titles by every game being the best. We were better, e had more chances, we could have won the game. Every game that everybody afterwards is ‘oh, this team was really good’ doesn’t happen. Not one season, not one team in the world. What are the good teams? The teams who make faults and they react directly and they don’t lose belief. That is part of being a winner and a successful player and it is that kind of player that we need here in the building to achieve what we want to achieve altogether.

Is this a big test of character?

It's an interesting one again so I will get to know the team better to make the right decisions towards next season, doesn't mean it's only about tomorrow. It will always be after the 7/8 months together. These are important moments to show as a player I am here of course.

Your captain has seemed to face a lot of criticism...

That's part of being a captain, I have also been in that position. As captain you're a symbol of the club and when things go well you're the main man with all the praise and spotlight. In this age it's different, every three days it is heaven or hell and then you get more stick. That's part of the job. Tav is ready for that also it's not his first experience. He's also had a lot of praise he deserved this season. Was he good on Sunday? No. He was also the first to recognise that. There was not really one on the pitch who was really good and they know that. They understand and want to react.

Are you saying players need to show why they should be here next season?

No don't take it so literally. It's always part of the season that after a decision is made on what is the group next season, that's always part of the story in every team in the world. It's not as if there is an exam these six weeks but it's always a part if you want to grow and be successful you need to make  decisions at the end of the season. In every team it is the same.

Philippe, when will Ridvan be back?

He will come back but it's difficult for me to say if it's a few days or two weeks but I am sure it is not going to be long term anymore. He's on the pitch training individually and taking steps but not training with the squad yet. 

Have you had to work individually or collectively to make sure the team isn't as open?

Of course, it had a lot to do with communication also. What we have been really strong on the last couple of months, the communication together. That was the not the case in this game and because of this the structure was also less than before. Everybody understands. It has been a really strong point that our structure was there all season. What was less the case in the beginning of the season and you also had games like we had now. It was a little bit of a throwback to those times and what I totally don't want to see because it is against all my principles in football. Yes, the team understands. In their eagerness to score goals, they forget their basics. We need to focus on our basics again.

What do you expect from Dundee?

They have a free ride tomorrow. That they will feel it like that also. They have nothing to lose, they will go full to win this game. It is a different situation than if we had played one week ago, where the pressure was on. It is a different situation but that is Dundee's situation. My situation is that I am focused on my team and what they need to do. In that way, the face of Dundee and how they approach the game will be different.

Have you spoken to Sam Lammers about your plans for next season?

No I didn't speak with him but we will make this evaluation, like I said also about all the rest, after the season. To see how everyone performed in this period. Not only me, that is together with the people of the board, to make the right decisions, to make a really strong squad and even a better squad next season.