THERE was much for Philippe Clement to be feeling chipper about as he entered the media room at Ibrox on Wednesday night in the immediate aftermath of Rangers’ routine cinch Premiership victory over St Johnstone.

The newly-crowned Viaplay Cup champions had won the first of their two league games in hand comfortably thanks to a first half Cyriel Dessers strike and a late James Tavernier penalty and moved to within two points of leaders Celtic at the top of the table.

He had, too, handed starts to centre half John Souttar, left back Ridvan Yilmaz, midfielder Kieran Dowell and playmaker Sam Lammers and given a quartet who had not started much of late much-needed competitive action.

But was the Belgian happy? Was he hell. The injury which the perpetually sidelined Kemar Roofe suffered took some of the gloss off a result which extended his unbeaten run as manager to 15 matches. It left him with just one fit striker.

READ MOREClement sets out hardline Rangers stance on 'very dangerous' tackles

It was, though, the foul by St Johnstone striker Diallang Jaiyesimi on Rangers midfielder John Lundstram on the half hour mark which really riled Clement.

He revealed that Lundstram, who has been one of his most influential and consistent performers in recent weeks, would probably not be available again before the winter break next month. The Englishman looks set to miss the Old Firm derby at Parkhead on Sunday week.

The Herald: “It’s another player who is kicked off the pitch,” he said. “So I am really frustrated with that. I am a little boiling. I don’t want to go in on emotions after the game. It’s better to cool down and make opinions about leagues or whatever.

“But it clearly wasn’t a good challenge, with studs forward like that. We had an even worse one later in the game. Luckily, the guy hit the ball and not my player. But the intensity there was to break a leg. Those things are not good for football.”

Clement is not the first person in his position to express such a view – his predecessor Graeme Souness memorably stated that the Scottish game had too many “hammer throwers” after a bruising encounter with St Johnstone at the newly-opened McDiarmid Park way back in 1990.

Souness was incensed that his new signing Oleg Kuznetsov, who he described as “the best defender in the world” after he had landed him for £1.2m from Dynamo Kyiv, had suffered a knock that was going to sideline him for months during a 0-0 draw in Perth.

READ MORERangers winter training camp confirmed with Hertha Berlin friendly

“You buy a player of real quality, truly world class, and look what happens,” he said. “He gets one game and then he is crocked. I am not sure what that tells you about Scottish football, but I do know there are too many hammer throwers in our game.”

The remark drew an inevitable response from seasoned observers of the sport in this country. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder might have been world class himself in his heyday. But he most definitely had something of the night about him as well. Just ask George McCluskey, Billy Stark, Iosif Rotariu and Siggi Jonsson.

However, the point which Souness made 33 years ago, and which Clement reiterated in midweek, remains a valid one.

There are still far too many mediocre players in Scotland who compensate for their shortcomings by resorting to underhand, and often dangerous, tactics. In many cases, they become idolised by supporters for their combative approach.

The Herald: The current incumbent of the Ibrox dugout has been a breath of fresh air since arriving on these shores. He has not hidden his disdain for outdated training methods and a failure to embrace modern recovery techniques.

He is quite correct to bemoan the excessively physical nature of the game here as well. It prevents gifted footballers, of whom there are many in Scotland, from showcasing their talents and stops fans from being entertained.

The former Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco manager was no shrinking violet. The ex-defensive midfielder won no fewer than 38 international caps for his homeland in the 1990s and 2000s. So he knew how to handle himself. But there is a major difference between being streetwise and being dirty. 

READ MOREPhilippe Clement confirms Rangers double injury blow

Anyone who argues that fitba has gone all “namby-pamby” - and many punters of a certain generation despair at the softness of penalties and what constitutes a red card offence in the modern game - should spend a little time speaking to the stars of yesteryear. They would revise their opinion quickly if they did so.

Those who spent their playing days getting booted up and down the park from kick-off to the final whistle will all agree that the increased protection offered to players by match officials is a very good thing – including Graeme Souness.

Referee Alan Muir sent off Jaiyesimi, who had originally only received a yellow card for his rash and pointless two-footed lunge on Lundstram, following a VAR review in midweek.

It is to be hoped the presence of new technology in the top flight acts as a deterrent to the “hammer throwers” and significantly reduces the number of serious fouls which are committed.

The Herald: