Rightly or wrongly, the consensus on Michael Beale’s failed tenure at Rangers seems to have settled on dysfunctional recruitment costing him the job he long coveted. The summer arrival of Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers for around £8m were designed to power the Ibrox club to the title. Instead, after 8 league games and six European outings, major doubts exist about the duo’s suitability to play a part in even the club’s short-term future.   

With Beale now departed and Philippe Clement in place as Rangers’ 19th manager, there’s a blank page for every player in the squad to prove themselves. That said, few will foresee a scenario where the new manager doesn’t move to recommend some January transfer additions to improve his chances of success. 

But don’t suggest for one minute that another rebuild, rebrand or revamp is on the cards because the former Monaco and Club Brugge boss strongly refutes the tearing apart of teams is in his coaching DNA. And when it’s put to him that recruitment is the most important aspect of modern management, he politely disagrees. 

He said: “I don’t think, as you say, it’s the most important thing. It’s a part of it, for sure. There are a lot of things also very important. You can do very good recruitment but if you don’t do a good job with other things, it’s useless. 

“So, of course it’s important to have players who have the potential quality. I’m also someone who builds that with young players, to develop players. I think it’s part of my job to not only buy players. If it was just that, then I’m probably at the wrong club — it would better to be a manager at a much wealthier club. 

“I have been involved in that with most of my clubs. It was with periods, depending on the club, how much you were involved. I have been very clear about that and I will be really involved with these things. We have to be aligned on which players are coming. 

“I will have an eye, with my assistant of course, on the interesting markets for us. If I see, or people around me see, players, I will always send them to the club. I have always worked like that.” 

The job is even more challenging given the timing of his arrival, so early in the new season. Managers always love a pre-season to bed in their ideas and make a difference with smart transfer market trading. Neither option will be available to Clement who will have to make do with what he has until January at the earliest.  

Not that this situation seems to phase the imposing Belgian. He’s keen to stress he’s an experienced manager who has seen this movie before. 

“I went to Genk in December, when they were eighth or ninth in the league and we finished fifth,” he recalled. “We got European qualification and next season we became champions with only one added player in January the year after. So, the season before, they were developing. 

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“I went to Monaco on the first of January and found eleven players injured there. In the first two months we had 19 Covid cases. So, it was all the time players in-out, in-out. It was a mess, trying to create a structure and a clear story for everyone because they were in and out. 

“In the beginning, results were moderate. But, at the end, when everyone was there, it was really good. In the first six months, we got most points in Ligue 1, along with PSG. We went to third place, ten seconds away from second place. 

“So it’s possible but it’s a lot of work and you need commitment of everyone — staff and players to the full, being really hard in concentration, in lifestyle, in every detail. I will be on top of that and then we can make an evaluation in the next weeks and months — who are the people stepping into the story and giving everything to get success for this club.” 

Giving every ounce of effort you have and showing an obsessive attention to detail are subjects Clement comes back to time and again. He freely admits his commitment to coaching and his passion for winning are all consuming. It’s something he’s been joking with Steven Davis about on the training pitch as the Northern Irishman gets to grips with different hours of work, stresses and strains that come when a playing career segues into coaching. It’s a period that can cause friction at home, a situation Clement suffered when his desire to commit fully to the life of a coach led to the breakdown of his marriage. 

“I am someone who wants to win always,” he said. “It’s the way I am. I had a lot of fights with my ex-wife about that. It was because of football

“When my children were small and we were playing games, I never let them win because it’s against my nature. I think also, you need to deserve to win. You can’t get it like a present — not even small children. If you do, you don’t create the right mentality.  

“She didn’t have the same idea about that. In the end, we separated when I stopped playing football and wanted to become manager, first as the Under-21 coach, together with being coach of the first-team defenders in Brugge. She wanted a normal life, with weekends and more time. She knew that would not be the case and that was the moment we separated. So, it’s about football but it’s my passion. I have been lucky and later I met someone who understood my story.” 

With such an intensely focused individual at the helm, it seems certain that his players will be under the microscope from the start. Other foreign managers who walked through the Ibrox doors have sometimes been disturbed by the habits of British footballers. Dick Advocaat dismantled the club’s booze culture of the 1990s while Paul Le Guen memorably, and in hindsight totally justifiably, banned Monster Munch and sugary condiments from the Ibrox canteen. Will players have to watch how they act, eat and drink under his watch? 

“They need to," he said firmly. "They don’t have another choice. It’s simple — otherwise you cannot be a football player at a top club. There is no other way. If you don’t have the right lifestyle, you can never be a top player. Yes, you can be for a short period, but not for a long period. Then you don’t belong in a club like this.”