Philippe Clement vows to knock Rangers stars into shape as Michael Beale training regime blamed for injury record

Philippe Clement vowed to whip his Rangers stars into shape during pre-season to prepare for the rigours of the new campaign - as he blamed a lack of preparation 12 months ago for their wretched injury record.

Clement succeeded Michael Beale in October but was hit with an unbelievable crock list throughout the campaign and has put that down to a lack of fitness. During the season, he said: "It's the biggest puzzle that I ever saw to be honest with all the injuries and players falling."

But having returned to the Rangers Training Centre ahead of of the 2024/25 campaign, the Belgian wants to ensure there is no repeat. He told Rangers TV: "Firstly, we are looking to build the physical condition. The team missed that a lot last season. They were not prepared to play every three days to a high intensity. Because of that we had a lot of injuries, so that is a big concern now, to train really hard and prepare really well.

"Not only ball exercises and running but a lot of exercises to strengthen their bodies. We are going to work on that. We can say to all the fans that the players are working really hard in the next couple of weeks to be stronger again next season."

Rangers are training in Glasgow before heading to the Netherlands for a training camp where they will face Dutch giants Ajax in a friendly. They also have pre-season games lined up against Birmingham City, Union Berlin and Manchester United at Murrayfield.

Clement continued: "It is going to be very hard training for the players and tough games, but they need to be challenged when they are tired also, to have that mentality and go through that because we will have moments like that in the season.

"That is one side we one to become stronger, the other is we will have individual talks with all the players every evening, together with my staff. It creates a bond and I have to say I was very happy in that way about last season. It was a good dressing room where everybody stuck together until the end.

"We need to rebuild in that way also, and get new leadership into the dressing room next to the guys who already showed leadership here. Also, to see people evolve in that way who were here last season. And for the new guys it is good to be 24 hours together in the week and really get adapted to the team.”

On the benefit of his first pre-season he said: “We didn’t have much time to train together. We had a lot of games, so it’s always exciting. It’s exciting to get new players in and have them learn all the new principles we want them to play with and without the ball - every small detail. So, it’s a new cycle. It’s going to be really challenging with a lot of players - more than I want normally - but it’s the only way because of the situation with us. We are all very motivated - the players and staff all there for the start of the season, but we are going to need not eleven players but a squad to play directly in nine top games in the first four weeks of the season.”