Philippe Clement left the Ibrox pitch like he had arrived onto it as he took the applause of those in the stands and reciprocated the gesture. It was a case of handshakes all round, the sense of excitement before a ball was kicked replaced by a feeling of a job well done after the final whistle.

There was no chorus of boos or barrage of abuse directed towards the Rangers manager on this occasion. Rather than videos of fans remonstrating with players long after the event, the keepsakes from this fixture were the pictures that Clement took time to pose for with young supporters before he made his way back up the tunnel.

A change in the dugout has altered mood around Ibrox. Crucially, it has also had the desired impact on the performance that was produced and the result that was earned. Three weeks after the defeat to Aberdeen that ended Michael Beale’s tenure, Clement got his reign off and running with a comfortable, commanding victory over Hibernian.

As steps forward go, it was a small but significant one. A setback in his first week in office was unthinkable for the Belgian and this 4-0 win – earned thanks to a brace from Abdallah Sima and one goal apiece for Nicolas Raskin and Cyriel Dessers – got Clement off and running with all the assuredness that he had conveyed in the build-up to his dugout debut.

As the fans filtered towards the exits – some far earlier than others in a sight that was sad but that has come to be expected – and the media waited for Clement to take his seat, the initial reaction was the consensus. Rangers had just produced their most accomplished showing of the season and the signs of recovery, the shoots of hope, were there for all to see. Clement was pleased, but his assertion that ‘impressed is a big word’ in response to his first question spoke volumes.

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The 49-year-old had cut a cool, calm and collected figure in both of his press conferences earlier in the week as he was unveiled in the Blue Room on Tuesday and then swapped the shirt and tie for the training gear at Auchenhowie three days later. There was no bluster or bravado about him, no resorting to clichés or talking in riddles, on those occasions and it was the same on Saturday as he assessed the positives but made it clear that the bar will continue to be raised as he seeks to transform Rangers’ fortunes and turn them into the best tactical, technical, physical and mental side in the country. He must turn them into champions.

Clement was encouraged that the seeds that were sown during his limited time on the grass this week had taken root within the squad. The structure of the side was evident, as was the increased tempo at which Rangers operated and Clement picked out the way in which his side reacted in moments of frustration, when passes were intercepted or chances were missed, as the most important factor in terms of the performance.

In a wider sense, it was the relationship between those on the pitch and those off it that encouraged Clement the most and he has arrived in Glasgow fully cognisant of how that bond has deteriorated. It will take more, much more in fact, than one Premiership win for this group to silence their critics and win over their doubters. For them and for their manager, this was only a start.

“Yeah, but there needs to be confirmation,” Clement said when asked if the result could provide confidence to his side. “It's like the honeymoon and everything is new. They need to confirm this next week and next month.”

The coming days will determine if Borna Barisic plays a part in that process after he was forced off through injury inside ten minutes. Clement had spoken so authoritatively about Rangers’ fitness issues just hours beforehand and his squad will have no option but to become more robust if they are to handle the rigours of domestic and European action as part of a side that will press from the front, that will be expected to run harder and further, but to do so smartly rather than recklessly.

The return of Todd Cantwell was a timely boost for Clement as he got half an hour under his belt, as was the late cameo that Danilo earned as his mask was put to the test in a match situation for the first time. Ryan Jack and Kemar Roofe were also on the bench and the squad will continue to improve in terms of strength and depth as Rangers work through a period that sees them face Sparta Prague on Thursday and then take on Hearts and Dundee before their Viaplay Cup semi-final with the Jambos.

“So there are still several players injured or coming back out of injury,” Clement said after lamenting the loss of Barisic as Ridvan Yilmaz, who is ineligible for European competition, was given an earlier than expected chance to catch the eye. “So that's going to be also a main task together with the performance staff to get everybody at their best level, their best physical level to produce this kind of games and better every three days.

“The next couple of months, it's not about one moment, it's about doing it all the time and then afterwards being too tired to do it again three days later. So we have still a lot of jobs to do. But I'm really happy about the reaction and I'm most happy also to see how fast the synergy between players and fans was back today. I'm most happy about that. And it's because the team started in the way I wanted them to start with directly high, pressing, with creating chances or creating corners, because we were that high and we were trying to score goals.”

It was Clement’s interaction with Barisic as he made his way off the pitch that offered the first insight into his style on the touchline. His leadership and his man-management were key qualities that came across during the interview process with John Bennett, James Bisgrove and Graeme Souness and being a boss that players want to play for cannot be underestimated.

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Barisic was not just greeted with an outstretched arm by Clement. Instead, the Croatian stopped to talk to his manager, appearing to run through the thigh issue that had brought his afternoon to a premature conclusion and the pair shared an embrace before Barisic departed.

Those scenes were repeated as substitutions were made later in the match. The time taken may be small in the grand scheme of things, but the gestures were enlightening. As good as Rangers were to watch, it paid to have one eye on Clement at all times.

The first goal from Sima was greeted with a roar and a fist pump as Clement swivelled towards his bench. While those around him continued their celebrations, Clement turned his attention to cajoling his players as messages were relayed. That approach was mirrored in the seconds after Raskin’s fine strike that made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

When Sima scored again, Clement focused his attentions on Connor Goldson. He knew the game was done at that stage and it was more important to communicate tactical information than it was to get caught up in the moment.

As Dessers took the acclaim of the crowd after completing the scoring, Clement barely flinched as he continued his discussions with Danilo and Ross McCausland. His moment with Dessers came when he was replaced, and he would surely have reinforced the message that he had tried to impart on the striker during the week after discussing his crisis of confidence before a show of faith that was repaid.

The former Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco boss did not patrol his technical area for every second of the match, but he was a prominent presence when he emerged from the dugout. He came to the attention of the fourth official on a couple of occasions as he pushed the boundaries and hugged the touchline. In the opening minutes, he infuriated Nick Montgomery by intercepting the ball in an attempt to speed up the transition of play. It could not be said for sure that it had even left the pitch in the first place. When the ball headed in his direction later in the half, he raised his arms and backed away from it so that he could not be accused on that occasion.

It did, of course, matter little in the end. Yet it was evidence of Clement’s desire to get on with it, to keep the tempo to the play. He has defined his blueprint as a dominant one and supporters can expect to see a side that are more ruthless and more relentless in the coming weeks. That was put to him in the final seconds of his press conference.

“In moments, yes, in moments no,” Clement said after initially responding to his questioner with a rhetorical answer of ‘you thought it was better today?’ when asked about the pace of play. “We need to show them things because in the moments we do it, we are a really dangerous team and we create good chances. It's getting this continuity, keeping this quality, keeping this hunger, keeping this passion to play forward.

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“But you need that also runs forward. You need the right runs, you need the right timing together. In moments it was good but in other moments we missed the timing or we missed a good pass. But I'm happy that after something went wrong, we had a good reaction. This was crucial in this game because it's not only about playing fast and scoring goals. Maybe we win the game more by having a good mentality after losing the ball. I think it may be the major point in this game.”

The first one has been won. The second challenge will be very different, and more difficult, but it is one that Clement is already prepared for as attentions turn to Prague.

He has watched two matches that the Czech side have played this term and been impressed by their levels in the Europa League. Their manager, Brian Priske, is a friend and team-mate from Brugge and a former coach at Antwerp and Clement is more than familiar with his 3-4-2-1 structure that he believes will be an ‘interesting test’ for Rangers. The assessment that his side will need to be ‘on top of their toes’ will no doubt be expanded on when he next addresses the media in Prague on Wednesday evening.

Supporters are beginning to get a picture of what they can expect from their new boss when he talks. Saturday offered insight into what they can expect when Rangers put the words in action.

It was a start. Nothing more, nothing less. The pats on the back and the acclaim were merited as the jeers were replaced by cheers. Nobody at Ibrox will get ahead of themselves. It will take more than this to impress Clement.