Ridvan Yilmaz broke down in tears over Rangers injury reveals Philippe Clement with Ibrox star facing Celtic race

Philippe Clement and Ridvan Yilmaz
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Rangers boss Philippe Clement has revealed how devastated defender Ridvan Yilmaz broke down in tears after becoming the latest name added to his nightmare Hampden injury list.

But the Ibrox gaffer has vowed he’ll do all he can to ensure the Turkish full-back has a chance of making Saturday’s Scottish Cup Final shootout with Celtic. Clement is facing yet another huge selection headache as he seeks to salvage Gers’ Double dreams. Yilmaz was hoping to feature against Brendan Rodgers’ Premiership champions after stepping up his comeback from a six-week thigh lay-off. But the 23-year-old is now a major doubt after suffering a relapse in last week’s draw with Hearts.

It’s a further blow to Clement, who has also revealed John Souttar will definitely sit out the showpiece derby clash alongside crocked stalwart Connor Goldson. With question marks over Leon Balogun and Borna Barisic’s fitness, Gers may have to thrust kids Leon King and Robbie Fraser into the biggest games of their young lives at 3pm on Saturday.

Reflecting on his never-ending injury woes, the big Belgian groaned: “In a way that killed the momentum we had. We had really good momentum building up until let’s say six weeks ago. We were getting more and more players fit and understanding the story of what to do together.

“And then we got more and more injuries and people not ready so others had to step in who hadn’t played as much or they were younger or they were less experienced and they made more mistakes. The Hearts game was also like that. We controlled the first half and we should have scored more, clearly.

“We lost a goal because our structure was not good and that is also about experience together and missing what you have from the normal team. At the end of the game you get two goals against with a player [Yilmaz] who came in but hurt himself again during that moment.

“I didn’t know that, at that moment. He came in my office the next day with tears in his eyes that he felt something again. So we are going to see if we get him fit for this cup final.”

Clement admits he has no choice but to roll the dice and hope some of his crocks are fit enough to get through the derby duel. But he warned they only have today’s training session to prove they’re ready.

Clement - who does have John Lundstram back from suspension - said: “John Souttar for sure will not be available. Leon there is a possibility. This is the final and decisive game so maybe we need to take some risks with players that we normally don't because there is a season coming after.

“I think a few guys want to come on the pitch with crutches! I cannot allow that of course but we are going to go hard with all the energy available in the building. I’m not a doctor so we can't speak about injections but all the players want to play this game.

“Some want to go really on the edge to be there, to play that game. We are going to need to make smart decisions without taking too much risk. I need to see training tomorrow, that is the final moment to show you're fit enough to play some minutes. Otherwise if you didn't train all week it's impossible to play some minutes in the game.”

It’s a year since the Light Blues last tasted Old Firm delight - and you have to go back two since they last registered a meaningful derby victory with their 2022 Scottish Cup semi-final win over Ange Postecoglou’s team. Celtic have won eight of the 11 since then - a run of woe Clement knows must end if he’s to retain the faith of the Ibrox legions.

“Every cup final is very important,” he said. “It is winning a trophy, winning a prize. And I know the record of the Old Firms so it is an opportunity now to break that cycle that has been going on for too long.

“And it’s an opportunity to take and to take that moment and grab those moments in the game. That is what I have missed in the last Old Firm games, we didn’t grab our moments.

“And of course we got two red cards – and they were deserved, there is no discussion about that – and that was an important part of the story. So we need to be better in grabbing the moments and for sure we need to be better in starting the game better.”