Rangers boss Clement insists Old Firm clash no title-decider

football05 April 2024 18:39| © AFP
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Rangers manager Philippe Clement is adamant Sunday's Old Firm clash at home to Celtic will not decide the destiny of the Scottish Premiership title.

With eight league matches left to play, Rangers are one point behind reigning champions Celtic but with a game in hand.

Rangers lost 1-0 to Celtic at Ibrox in September, when Michael Beale was still their manager, and were beaten 2-1 at Celtic's Parkhead ground in December in what was Belgian boss Clement's first experience of a Glasgow derby.

The arch-rivals will meet again when the league splits into a top and bottom six after the upcoming 33-game mark.

"It is always a big game, it is a six-point game and we know we have another one in a few weeks but it is not yet a decisive game," said Clement during a pre-match press conference on Friday.

"So whoever wins is not champions. It is not like that. I am happy with what I have seen from my team after the last Old Firm game.

"We have had 11 games until now and we took 30 points from 33 and we could have taken more points in the Motherwell game (where Rangers lost 2-1 last month), it could have been better than that and we scored more goals than Celtic in that period and less goals against. So that is really good consistency but not a guarantee for anything."

He added: "I see my team growing month by month and this is the next challenge.

"But don't forget this, there are still a lot of games to play, not only the two Old Firm games."

Clement said Rangers left-back Ridvan Yilmaz, who injured himself on international duty with Turkey, will have a fitness test ahead of the Celtic clash.

"We will make a decision tomorrow (Saturday) or even on Sunday around that," he explained. "He has been training but not enough with the team to ensure he is in the squad.

"(Abdallah) Sima is fit enough to start but not to play 90 minutes. It depends which part of the game you want him on the pitch so that is my decision."