Hugh Keevins warns Rangers the sharks are circling as Philippe Clement told it's time to sink or swim

Philippe Clement wasn’t fishing for compliments when he gave us his latest take on Rangers’ spending in the transfer window.

The Ibrox manager was angling for understanding while drawing a diagram of what financial disparity looks like from his perspective in a city where Celtic are about to bank Champions League money on top of an established fortune in the club’s account. And Clement’s first, and most crucial, task in the new season is to make sure Rangers join them in that competition. Or else.

“If your opponent has more money then you have to work better,” Clement said. “A big pool is where you can take the best fish out. Our pool is smaller so you have to be sharper.” Those words carry even greater weight in the shark-infested waters of the Premiership. There exists a possibility that Clement’s first transfer window could also be his last if his recruitment isn’t as inventive as he needs it to be.

No Champions League and no win over Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of next season would be enough to have the piranhas circling the manager’s feet before the January transfer window even opens. Or might Clement be being double wide with his angling analogy?

If Celtic, resident in the pool with the best fish only manage to pull out tiddlers then the water might suddenly be up at their necks. Brendan Rodgers guided them to safety when there was a danger of going under at one point last season but he wants to be better placed to direct the flow of the tide from now on.

Sink or swim time. And no lifebuoys.