Pundit suggests Rangers teamsheet v Hibernian will be so weak it'll offer boost to away side at Ibrox
Philippe Clement’s first Rangers starting lineup could be so weak that it provokes a “small roar of encouragement” from weekend opponents Hibernian, according to Tam McManus.
Writing for the Daily Record (19 October), the pundit hailed the new manager’s record at previous clubs but warned he may need some time to come to terms with the nature of the Scottish league.
The underwhelming side fielded by the Belgian could encourage Hibs to get a good result, with few Rangers players impressing in the early stages of the season.
McManus wrote: “Clement has a strong track record and a good CV but he might need some time and Hibs have to sniff any vulnerability or uncertainty. If I’m a Hibs player I’m not seeing a top-drawer team across the tunnel.
“I can recount days at Ibrox and the teamsheet comes into the dressing room – Frank de Boer, Ronald de Boer, Barry Ferguson, Mikel Arteta, Claudio Cannigia, Shota Arveladze. You’re thinking, ‘How are we going to get a result here?’
“I’m not sure that’ll be the case on Saturday. In fact, seeing the names on the teamsheet might instigate a small roar of encouragement and add to belief that they can get a result.”
Much of football is about mentality, and Hibs will be eager to use anything possible to get an edge over the Gers. While the current roster does not have talent like those McManus reeled off, the quality is undeniable, if still untapped at Ibrox.
What Hibs will be thinking is that now is a good time to play Rangers. While a new boss can give a side a boost in their initial games, Clement’s unfamiliarity with the Scottish game could prove his downfall.
However, even with the Gers’ poor form, on paper, they are better than Hibs in most departments and Rangers go into the clash as favourites despite the recent turmoil.
The success of Clement’s tenure will be determined far after this weekend’s clash, but he will want to get life in Glasgow off to the best possible start. Few “top-drawer” players populate the Rangers squad, but Clement’s biggest task perhaps is to get a tune from the underperformers.
In time, they could prove their worth, but they will have extra incentive to play well on their manager’s debut if they want a chance of retaining their place.
In other Rangers news, Peter Grant says what Philippe Clement must do in the next two months at Ibrox.