Philippe Clement vexed by same Rangers issue exploited by Celtic yet again as he explains Todd Cantwell no show

It's been an accusation thrown at Rangers for YEARS now in Old Firm derbies.

But Philippe Clement says yet another lacklustre start to a game against Celtic cost them a potential victory. The Belgian boss was pleased with his team’s resilience at Parkhead after going 2-0 down and being reduced to 10 men following John Lundstram’s red card. But despite getting back into it with a Cyriel Dessers header and rallying towards the end - Gers were second best again.

Clement has now had three Old Firm games since arriving in Glasgow and he’s yet to win one. That record must change when the sides meet again at Hampden on May 25 for the Scottish Cup Final. And to do it, they’ll have to start these games better. In the last derby at Ibrox, they conceded a goal in the first minute. And even though it took 36 for Brendan Rodgers’ side to break the deadlock, Clement was raging at their lack of aggression or desire from kick-off. And that’s something he’s vowed to address.

He said: “For the first 20 minutes we were not aggressive enough. After that, the red card decided the game because after 20 minutes, we were coming into the game. We had enough chances in the first half and you need to take those moments. But we need to start better, that’s clear. We need to play 90 minutes like we played the last 70.

“That is definitely something for us to discuss because I expected much more in the first 20 minutes. They know they can do it, they have done it before. In parts of the game they did it, even with 10 men.

“We were then not out of the game but it was much more difficult. The positive side is that the team again showed resilience.

“They didn’t give up and it would have been easier to give up in an environment without fans, being behind and with ten men. At least we kept on going. We tried to create a second goal and stayed in it until the last second of the game. Nobody in the stadium was relaxed until the end but we couldn’t get it over the line.”

Rangers lost a cheap first goal to Matt O’Riley, who wasn’t tracked as he made his way into their box before burying his shot past Jack Butland. At the other end, they were negligent in front of goal themselves.

Fabio Silva had two excellent chances to score in the first half but failed to trouble Joe Hart. Clement said: “I think Fabio played a good game and he stayed really calm under the circumstances.

“He is a young player who has learned a lot of lessons over the last couple of months, in a good way. He has reacted well. But it is about killing off games in moments. You need players who are clinical, who are decisive.

“He was close, that is an important thing. The next step is to be clinical. For Celtic’s first goal, it’s nothing new - that is their quality. But we lacked aggression in those situations. What we could do with 10 men, we needed to do with 11.”

Clement went into the game with a raft of injuries to deal with but he picked up another one as John Souttar had to be subbed at half-time. Todd Cantwell, who has been starting recently for the manager, failed to get off the bench in the 90 minutes.

But Clement said: “Todd is OK, he was fit, yes. But this was not the game to put him on when we are playing with 10 men.”