Philippe Clement revealed his decision to hook Todd Cantwell at half-time was tactical

Philippe Clement made a strategic decision at halftime that would prove instrumental in securing victory for the Scottish giants. By substituting Todd Cantwell with Scott Wright, Clement’s calculated move paid off as Wright not only found the back of the net but also played a pivotal role in James Tavernier’s stunning free-kick goal. This decisive victory sets the stage for Rangers to aim for their first piece of silverware since 2011 when they return to Hampden next month to face Aberdeen.

Clement’s tactical substitution at halftime was driven by a combination of factors. The decision to replace Cantwell was influenced by the player’s first-half booking and the Belgian manager’s intention to avoid potential risks. Clement explained, “It was more of a tactical one. Also with his yellow card, I didn’t want to take chances with that – I knew they would try and irritate Todd more – and with Scott and his energy, I wanted to rotate with the two of them like the last couple of weeks because I want fresh players up front. It was just a tactical one.”

The move not only addressed tactical considerations but also highlighted Clement’s commitment to ensuring the team remains competitive throughout various competitions. He stressed, “We don’t have anything. If we are in a final or quarter-final, it’s the same. It’s about winning, so I’m looking forward to December, but I’m focused on December. I don’t have so much time to be happy or satisfied because I need to think about the next game, which is why I made a few changes at the end.”

Clement’s relentless focus on the next challenge is evident as Rangers prepare for a crucial Europa League clash against Sparta Prague. The manager emphasized, “It’s a big game again on Thursday against Sparta – I don’t have so much time to be happy or satisfied.” This unwavering commitment to success has been a hallmark of Clement’s approach to managing the team.

Despite the demanding schedule, Clement was visibly pleased with the performance of his squad. He praised the team’s dominance throughout the game and their increasing understanding of his tactical approach, stating, “The most pleasing thing was the way the team played. We were dominant the whole game and created a lot of chances. We had three goals and good attacks but we could have scored much more than that. You see the team growing game by game. You see the players understanding the way we want to play more and more, so we get a bigger squad which will be important to be competitive in four competitions.”

Clement also acknowledged the pivotal role played by James Tavernier, the team’s captain, in recent matches. He commended Tavernier for his consistent performances, both on and off the pitch, and stressed the need for more players to exhibit leadership qualities. “Tav made a really good game today but also in the last couple of weeks, and he understands what we want to do. He’s one of the leaders in the dressing room and on the pitch, and I need more players like that. I hope to see more and more leadership in the group but I’m quite satisfied about that already for this moment that several players do that as well.”