PHILIPPE Clement has admitted he has drawn inspiration from Rangers’ storied 152 year history this season as the Ibrox club prepare to honour their legendary manager Walter Smith.

Supporters of the Glasgow giants will gather at their stadium at noon today to see the unveiling of a bronze statue of Smith on Edmiston Drive at the Copland Road end.

The Scot, who passed away at the age of 73 in 2021, won no fewer than 21 major honours during the two spells which he spent in charge of his boyhood heroes.  

Clement, whose men will attempt to complete a double when they take on Celtic in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final at Hampden tomorrow afternoon, believes it will be a fitting tribute to a great man.

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“It’s a really a huge thing, and a normal thing also, that a club does that for somebody who was so important for a club and deserves this recognition,” he said.

The Belgian, who took over from Michael Beale as manager at Rangers back in October and led them to their first Viaplay Cup success in 12 years in December, is well aware of Smith’s many achievements.

The former Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco manager has tried to learn as much as he can about the Ibrox club’s past since arriving in this country last year and has been impressed with their many successes at home and abroad.  

The Herald: Philippe Clement poses with the Scottish Cup ahead of the final of the Scottish Gas-sponsored“A lot as all those things are interesting to me,” he said. “I’ve been to the museum at Edmiston House and I have to say that it’s impressive.

“I’ve been in a few places like in Camp Nou and I think the Rangers one is better! That was four or five years ago and maybe they’ve changed it and I’m saying something silly! But back then it was not of the standards of the museum at Rangers.

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“For me it’s an important thing if you come somewhere to know the history of the club, to understand the people and the city also. That’s also the reason that we’re not going on holiday to Portugal or Spain this year or some magical island in the sun.

“I’m going to be here with my wife for a week and we’re going to see the north of Scotland. Probably on the phone the whole time but I will see some things!” 

Clement, though, does not feel the ceremony at Ibrox today will have any bearing on what happens at Hampden this afternoon.

“The cup final is nothing to do with the statue of Walter,” he said. “Those are two separate things. The cup final is something else. It’s a game about winning trophies and those two things are separate from each other.” 

The Herald: