There's no doubt Philippe Clement is a manager who exudes total confidence in his methodology. 

Take just yesterday at the press conference previewing the Viaplay League Cup Final, where he said: "I know we are going to win trophies with the club. That I know. I don't have any doubt about that."

These were stark words for a man about to face a national cup final that most felt was on a knife edge. But there they were, a clear statement about his total confidence in this, fairly ragtag, group of men he inherited just over two months ago.

It's a remarkable turnaround. 

At the time the Belgian first ascended the marble staircase, Rangers were seven points adrift in the league, coming off a comprehensive defeat to Aris Limassol in Europe and had a still had a semi-final against Hearts to traverse.

It's easy to forget the mood music of the time - that the rebuild would require a rebuild, that summer signings were largely hopeless and flailing long-timers like Connor Goldson and James Tavernier would need to move on.

Rangers' consistency since the new manager arrived and a Celtic implosion mean the title race is very much on, meanwhile a last 16 place in the Europa League is booked and the League Cup trophy is on its way to the Ibrox trophy cabinet for the first time in over a decade. It seems like something is stirring at Ibrox alright.

The swirling smoke from the pyro both set off by the fans ahead of kick off gave the stadium an other worldly feel, however ephemeral, and soon it was as if we had stepped into a time machine back to the 1980s, for what we got on the pitch was a football from a bygone era - and not in a positive way.

What unfolded was a bruising affair from the first whistle, with Aberdeen looking to drag Rangers into a war. Clement's men unwisely accepted the challenge and played the match on the Don's terms in the first half. It was blood and snotters stuff and seriously grim to watch. Suddenly, the argument there was more than a grain of truth to Derek Adams' already infamous rant on Saturday about Scottish football's standards being at an all time low was being given a new light.

Of course, the Dons have less talented and expensive players than their counterparts so it's only right they tried to level the playing field, but there's no doubt it was eye-bleeding to watch at times.

Clement clearly got into his team's heads after the break because his charges came out with a lot more attacking vim during the second forty five where they were much more imposing. They created numerous chances and kept pushing for the winner until Tavernier popped up at the back post to drill home with 14 minutes to go. 

The expected Aberdeen response didn't really materialise and by the time the final whistle blew, the Dons, for all their sweat, had failed to register a shot on goal. While not embarrassed and always in the game, it's not the kind of record trophy wins are built on. Aberdeen fans are entitled to ask searching questions about their manager, who undoubtedly in the likes of Duk, Jamie McGrath and Bojan Miovski has plenty of firepower in his squad.

The came to fight, and fight they did. Rangers didn't always deal with it well, but they defended resolutely, especially at set pieces. Connor Goldson, John Lundstram and Leon Balogun fought for every ball - and won most of the ones that counted.

Ahead of the match, Clement urged his players to ignore outside noise and focus instead on being a good teammate. He would have been heartened to see so many instances of his men standing tall for each other. At one point Duk turned Borna Barisic inside out and just when he seemed to be driving into dangerous space, the jet-heeled Abdallah Sima emerged from nowhere to muscle in and nick the ball before himself being fouled. The Senegalese forward was on the deck as the whistle blew and Barisic was above him before he could rise, applying a determined embrace and shaking him furiously in thanks.

Of course, teamwork is one thing but it's never quite enough. Football is a game of moments and a hero has to rise. Enter Tavernier. So often the man to deliver on the big occasion. The captain was desperate to claim this trophy having needed it to complete the Scottish football clean sweep and having lost twice it twice before in painful Old Firm encounters.

It was fitting that the cross came from the full back to full back move that has given Rangers so many goals since Barisic arrived in 2018. The Croat's wonderful cross eluded everyone except the Englishman. His touch and finish were never in doubt. 

Many lament Tavernier's qualities as a captain, holding him up to unrealistic comparisons with Ibrox greats of the past. A John Greg or Richard Gough may have been more outwardly demonstrable and bombastic but this is a different era. The leadership moulds of old have changed in every industry. And while that's true of Tavernier, his consistency of delivery is avowedly old fashioned. 
Leading by example is what he does. Even as a veteran, he's so often the man to produce on the big stage. That's leadership alright.

It's something Clement will be well aware of. He's not one for singling out individuals as he often points out to the media. After the game he was asked about his captain and said: "I'm very pleased, not only for him but for everybody. Tav has showed really good quality in the last couple of weeks, he has been one of the leaders in the group to push, to perform, to be important, to take responsibility in every moment. He has never been hiding when we wanted to play, he has been important with assists and goals. We need to continue that."

And if there's one element to Clement's character that seems a perfect fit for Rangers, it's exemplified by these final five words. He's never satisfied with what he has, always hungry for more. 

You sense that this won't be his last time lifting silverware in Scotland