RANGERS manager Philippe Clement tonight compared his players' first half performance against Kilmarnock on the artificial pitch at Rugby Park to "Bambi on ice".

The Ibrox club beat their Ayrshire rivals 2-1 thanks to second half goals from James Tavernier and Tom Lawrence to maintain their two point lead over Celtic at the top of the cinch Premiership table. 

Clement was pleased with how his charges battled back after falling behind to a Danny Armstrong penalty - but he was less than enamoured with how they acquitted themselves on the plastic pitch during the opening 45 minutes.

"We started the game well with a good set-piece from which we could have scored," he said. "But they saved it on the line. Had we gone in front it’s a totally different game.

“But then after 10 minutes you get this penalty against you, which was a frustrating moment because the score goes against you. You then have an opponent who sits back and waits for your mistakes to make counter attacks and to be dangerous. And our tempo was too slow in the first half.

“We needed some time to adapt because it was a totally different kind of football. At moments I felt my players were like Bambi on ice. They had to adapt to that and we spoke about it at half-time. After that they were great. We were massive in every sense, the resilience, the tempo, the fighting spirit."

Clement has repeatedly stressed that he does not care about Rangers' league position and is always focusing on the Ibrox club's next game - but he confessed the Kilmarnock triumph could be significant in the Scottish title race. 

 "This is a major win," he said. "Of course, because of the scenario of the game that goes against you.

"But this is not a group of players anymore who stop or quit or become nervous or become islands. They stick together, they fight hard and they show quality. They were two quality goals and there were several good attacks also. It is very important.

"Of course I was proud, because we didn’t give away a lot. It is not easy when the other team plays like that. We not only defended we tried to create also. We could have scored more. We could have had a penalty also to make the job easier at the end."

Asked what his message had been to his players at half-time, Clement said: "That is between us. Some things are for the dressing room. Not important.

"The boys did it. They showed what they had to show, they showed what they showed already a lot of times in the last couple of months and because of that I am really proud of them.

"Without that mentality you cannot win titles. That is one thing. But we are not busy with that. It is about confirming this game by game."

Clement stated that he will assess the injury which forced Oscar Cortes off in the second half with his medical staff in the next couple of days.  

"It is really early," he said. "We will see tomorrow or the day after to make a good assessment about him, if he was tired or it is more. Let’s hope not because we are missing already enough players. That is something to work on in the next months for sure and the preparation for next season."