Philippe Clement brands Rangers star Cyriel Dessers too NICE as he urges Hampden hero to become 'killer'

Philippe Clement insists Rangers marksman Cyriel Dessers is too NICE as he urged the striker to become more of a “killer” despite his deadly double against Hearts booking a Scottish Cup final place against Celtic.

The Nigeria international has bagged 19 goals this season for the Light Blues but has been criticised for much of the campaign. And even when he was on a Hampden hat-trick late on, he tried to set up Fabio Silva with the on-loan Wolves man making a mess of the opportunity.

And Clement told Premier Sports in his post match assessment: “He’s too nice - as a person and sometimes in the duels as well. It was better today. He kept the ball, was strong and scored good goals. But there is work to do on being more of a killer but if you see the progress he’s made in the last six months."

He went on: "He's honest, he works really hard for the team, he doesn't have injuries, he plays a lot of minutes and he's getting stronger and stronger in the duels. He's scoring a lot of goals now also. Can he make more goals? Yes, but I don't know any striker in the world who takes every chance. Can he be more (selfish)? I think in the end, it was better to shoot himself, but he's giving everything for the team and that is a really important quality."

The Belgian also explained his decision to bench Connor Goldson with Leon Balogun coming in and said it’s a move he would have made SOONER if he could have. He said: “Connor has given a lot this season already. He’s been massive, very important, we have the best defence in the league also because of him. But I felt some tiredness in the last week so the idea was to do it against Dundee but Leon became sick so it wasn’t possible and that’s why we did it today.”

After a run of two wins in eight games going into this which had seen the pressure crank right up, Clement was delighted with the reaction having lost at Ross County seven days previously and then a drab draw in Dundee in midweek. He said: “This week we have had two setbacks. I was totally not pleased with the Ross County game but you see the reaction and we have to show this level in the next couple of weeks. This was against the third best team in the league and I think we played a good game.

“The quality on the ball was the difference. I saw composure and hunger in Hearts also but we were the better team on the ball although at the end of the game we should have kept the ball in a much better way. We were too eager to score the third goal and it became a bit like a basketball game which I don’t like but it’s lessons to learn - young players coming in with a lot of hunger and eagerness because they want to be part of the team to win trophies.”

The win came at a cost with Abdallah Sima limping off and he said: “We will assess Abdallah tomorrow. Rabbi was tactical. At that moment. I thought it was necessary.

Abdallah Sima goes off injured -Credit:Getty Images
Abdallah Sima goes off injured -Credit:Getty Images

"Abdallah felt some tightness in his hamstring and I hope it’s not too bad. We have come out of a period of a lot of games and in midweek on a difficult surface. That’s also in the body and now it’s week by week.”

But Mohamed Diomande returned from the sidelines to produce an impressive display and Clement hopes to get more back up to speed. He said: “Mohamed is a very good signing in January without the budget to find someone like that so credit to the recruitment team and he’s been very important and the guys who have replaced him after his injury against Celtic. Players who have missed game rhythm will get better - like Tom Lawrence, Kieran Dowell and Nico Raskin. It’s about keeping on working and being there for the team and we can grow in the last part of the season.”