Philippe Clement faces Rangers Scottish Cup final selection dilemma as he plays injury waiting game over key men

Philippe Clement admits he has no idea who will start against Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final - with injury doubts over half his team.

The Rangers gaffer watched his side draw 3-3 with Hearts at Tynecastle as they finished the Premiership campaign eight points behind their Old Firm rivals. Clement was able to give Abdallah Sima and Ridvan Yilmaz much-needed minutes in Gorgie, with Ryan Jack also returning to the bench.

But the Belgian boss admits it could be FRIDAY before he has an inkling of who’s going to be available for Hampden. He’ll have John Lundstram back after suspension but Clement says no-one is guaranteed a start against Celtic. Despite his injury concerns and failure to win a derby this season, the Gers manager said: “We will see who’s available. It was positive that Abda and Ridvan got minutes today. We’ll see if Leon Balogun can be fit again, I hope so.

“In that way, it’s difficult for me to plan the starting 11 or know what players are going to make it. We’ll need to assess with the medical and performance staff to see how many are available - and for how many minutes.

“Will I give players until Saturday to prove their fitness? That’s difficult to answer. I don’t know yet what the story will be. A player could be fit on Friday but I need to wait until that moment. I don’t like this situation but it’s been that way for weeks now. Will Lundstram come back in? I never discuss my team before games, which makes it difficult for my colleagues.”

Rangers haven’t beaten Celtic in four attempts so far this term, with Clement in charge for three of them. But despite all his problems, he’s convinced his team can lift the trophy at Hampden and end the season on a high.

Clement said: “In one game, everything is possible. And in the three games I’ve had against them, we got a draw and lost the other two 2-1 at Celtic Park when we played a big part of those games with 10 men.

"Every time, it was really tight. I know my players will go full in this last game to give the fans something special. That’s why I believe we can win it.”

Rangers held a 3-1 lead against Hearts thanks to goals from Ross McCausland, Todd Cantwell and Fabio Silva. But they let it slip in the dying moments, with Hearts striker Kyosuke Tagawa scoring a last-gasp equaliser. Clement was frustrated with the scoreline but pleased with his team’s display - especially young winger McCausland.

He said: “It clearly wasn’t a dead rubber for both teams, everyone went full. If you have 10 shots on target against four, you’re disappointed with a 3-3 - and certainly when you concede a goal in the last two seconds of the game. It’s important to take good lessons out of that.

“In big spells of the game, the boys showed good things with an experimental team. Today was about making choices before next week. I’ve seen a team who were fighting all game long today. It was disappointing to be 1-0 down against the play because we had good chances to score the first goal.

“But the reaction in the second half was really good. We scored three goals and it’s a pity we lost two in the last 10 minutes. If Ben Davies was still on the pitch, we probably wouldn’t have conceded.

“But Hearts were really efficient today. They had four shots on target and scored three goals. It’s important to talk about the positives, like Ross. He scored a good goal and he’s now played a lot. It’s a pity he was kicked off the pitch for eight to 10 weeks when his momentum was growing.”

Rangers were denied a first-half penalty when Cyriel Dessers looked to have been tugged in the box by Hearts defender Frankie Kent. Clement said: “From where I was standing there was a clear pull. Do you have an explanation why that's not a penalty? It’s disappointing but I’m still a fan of VAR. The decision making should be better and I expect it on Saturday to be correct.”