PHILIPPE CLEMENT insists Rangers must be more “inventive” in the transfer market because their budget is significantly tighter than their Premiership rivals Celtic.

Clement, speaking for the first time since his side were officially ruled out of the title race after the Parkhead side’s 5-0 win against Kilmarnock made it three in a row for Brendan Rodgers’ side on Wednesday night, is adamant that things must change structurally at all levels of the Ibrox club if they are to compete with their city rivals’ greater spending power.

And the former AS Monaco and Club Brugge manager is keen to overhaul his playing squad this summer as he prepares to embark on his first full season in charge at Ibrox, having taken over from Michael Beale in mid-October.

Asked if he was concerned about the financial cost of improving his side, Clement replied: “Concern is a negative word. 

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“We know we have less money than our competition because they have more money and they have Champions League money now. So, we need to be more inventive, the recruitment needs to be more inventive.

“If your opponent has more money and can spend more you have to work better. That needs to be the challenge to make things better. We have to find better players for cheaper prices.

“It’s not always the player that costs more who at the end has the highest value.”

Rangers found themselves at a similar crossroads a year ago when Beale, who himself took over the reins during the 2022/23 season after Giovanni van Bronckhorst was sacked following a poor start, embarked on a summer clear-out of personnel and brought in a raft of new signings such as Cyriel Dessers, Sam Lammers, Danilo, Jose Cifuentes, Dujon Sterling, Kieran Dowell and Jack Butland to varying degrees of success.

With Clement in virtually the same position as Beale 12 months ago, it could be suggested that more root-and-branch change may be unsettling to the club. But Clement believes he can bring that stability to club with the changes he makes in the close season.

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“Of course [this needs to be the last rebuild]. You need a core to build on for the future,” the Belgian said.

“You know the things that have been achieved. If you do it all season like that then everybody would be really happy.

“With the start last season you have that in your backpack already for the whole year.

“It’s a result of what we have today. You need to look through that and not only think about the negative that we are not champions.

“We don’t need to start from zero. I think sometimes people exaggerate. It’s like this elsewhere too, not just this city.

“In Brugge it was the same story, there your competitor was Anderlecht. It was another city maybe, but it was winning or losing, heaven or hell.”

Beale’s rebuild was not conducted in the bargain basement, either. Brazilian striker Danilo was signed from Feyenoord for around £6m, Dessers brought in from Italian second-tier outfit Cremonese for around £3m, and Lammers is currently out on loan at Utrecht after failing to hit the heights following his £3.5m move from Atalanta.

The real success stories from Beale’s summer spending spree come in the form of free transfers Sterling, 24, who has shown great maturity and versatility playing in all manner of positions since signing from Chelsea, and Butland, the former Manchester United loanee who has been a revelation in goal since moving from Crystal Palace.

While he admitted that such moves in the transfer market would inform his strategy this summer, Clement pointed to a range of areas he will be addressing as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premiership title.

“Yes but it’s challenging. The bigger the pool is where you can take the best fish out,” he said.

“Our pool is smaller, so you have to be sharper. But it’s not just for that department, it’s for everything. It’s for the technical staff, the medical staff, the performance staff, for recruitment. It’s for everybody in the building. We need to work better, all of us, to make the next steps.”