Philippe Clement identifies Rangers area he is '200 per cent' sure he will fix for next season

You won’t find Philippe Clement among those raising doubts over Rangers’ minerals.

The Ibrox boss has seen enough character in his players to have full trust in their ability to handle the title strain. But the big Belgian concedes some of the doubters querying his side’s mettle will only be satisfied if they can produce the silver to go with their steel.

It’s crunch time with four Premiership games and a Scottish Cup Final left for the Light Blues. There’s still plenty to play for a team which, their 2021 Premiership triumph apart, have usually been less Tungsten and more strugglin’ at this point in the year. But allowing Celtic to move three points clear means there’s a real threat that this campaign could can still sink like a lead balloon. Clement’s faith in his team, though, is copper-bottomed and he insisted his team will fight all the way to the end.

He said: “Credit is always shown at the end because it’s all about results. You can have this scrutiny, you can be super strong and be mentally super strong and not win something and people will say ‘mentally he wasn’t strong enough’ and make that conclusion.

“It doesn’t work that way. It’s about pushing what they are doing right now. Is it a guarantee? No. But they are all pushing really hard and are working really hard. That I can see every day. It’s about continuing to do that.

"What they have done to now in this six months – and I don’t like to repeat this too much – but they have taken the most points. They took the League Cup and are in the Scottish Cup Final by eliminating the third best team in the league while everybody was saying ‘they are in a good run and Rangers is on a bad run’. They did that.

“What more do they have to prove? Yes, there’s the next game and then again it will be ‘are they strong enough or not strong enough?’” Do I still see the determination in the team? Two hundred per cent. There’s no doubt about that and they’ve shown that it’s season also. There’s not one one reason why anyone in the world would doubt that. They’ve proven enough what they want.”

Record Sport revealed this week that Borna Barisic is on the verge of joining Trabzonspor, with Ibrox pal John Lundstram also weighting up an offer from the Turkish outfit. Clement has seen from his spells in charge of previous clubs Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco the dangers when players start believing the grass is greener elsewhere. But he’s seen no signs of that with his Light Blues squad.

“I’ve had players in the past who wanted to leave and because of that they dropped a level,” he said. “Not always consciously - sometimes sub-consciously in their heads. We had talks with them about that but if they didn’t prove in training they were ready they wouldn’t come on the pitch.

“You need to stay honest with them and the club. But I haven’t had any signal like that from anybody in the building, otherwise I cannot let them play. It’s simple. I've see a good mentality in the six months together from the whole group. Why would it change?

“They’re fighting for trophies. If you don’t have agreement with the club here you want to go in the best possible way and the best possible way is to win trophies. You want to leave with victories.

“There have been reports for months about a lot of players and a lot of things. As long as nothing is official and I see the right things in the training and the dressing room, players are selectable.

“Borna will be in the selection from what I have seen until now. If he steps into the building tomorrow with another mindset that is something else. I don’t believe so. I I see somebody who is serving this club already a long time and is really hungry for more titles and more trophies. There is nothing official around [Lundstram]. I am not naïve, the longer that things last the more possibility that other people step in.

“I see Lunny every day the same way that he was two months ago, three months ago, five months ago. He is fighting for the club. All these players are busy with winning trophies and doing the right things together. Otherwise they would not be in the selection.”

Connor Goldson, however, is the latest to join a long list of players who won’t be kitting up to face Kilmarnock on Sunday after suffering a season-ending knock in training. Clement’s time in charge has been cursed by injuries - but he’s vowed to find a solution before next season.

“I don’t believe in luck,” he said. “Yeah in short term but not in the long term. We know some reasons why there are more injuries this season. But the Connor thing is totally different from the other cases.

“We know and we’re going to work on that so in future it doesn’t happen anymore. You cannot avoid injuries in a season, of course. But it’s been too much and we’ve been missing too many players for a long time.

“At the moment, we’re missing four attacking players who could be out starting attacking force. That’s a lot for one moment. Am I convinced we can fix it for next season? Yes, 200 per cent. I can guarantee that next season it will be less. But we need the preparation for that. It’s been one of the major things in my job since I started as a manager.

“Everywhere I’ve been, there’s been more than 90 per cent availability of players in all those years. That’s because I work closely with the medical staff in the training. So in that way it’s disappointing what has happened this season until now. But we need the preparation to fix that."