Clement welcomes away derby allocations as he confirms Sima return

Rangers return to league this weekend with a game against Hibernian.

Clement welcomes away derby allocations as he confirms Sima return SNS Group

Philippe Clement has welcomed an agreement that will allow away fans back into Old Firm derbies from next season.

The Rangers manager also confirmed that Abdallah Sima is among a host of players that also includes Dujon Sterling, Ross McCausland and Kieron Dowell have returned to training after injury lay-offs.

All four will be in contention for some game time when the Ibrox side return to league action against Hibernian this weekend but says they won’t be able to play a full 90 minutes.

It was revealed on Friday that Glasgow’s big two had come to an agreement that will see around 5% of their stadiums set aside for away supporters when they meet each other in the 2024/25 campaign.

However the remaining two fixtures this season will continue to be played in front of home fans only.

Speaking to the media ahead of their clash with Hibs this weekend, the Belgian said: “For me it is very positive, everyone who loves football wants two sides of fans singing against each other.

“It was strange to play Celtic without our supporters in the stadium, every player and manager wants the fans at the stadium.

“You do this job to see fans happy and feel the respect and synergy. I think it is an important thing inside stadiums to have both sets of fans.”

He went of to confirm that the four injured players had returned to training but they are still without the likes of Danilo, Ridvan Yilmaz, Oscar Cortes and Ryan Jack.

He said: “Sterling, Dowell, Sima and McCausland are back in training.

“Ridvan, Jack, Cortes & Danilo are out. Ridvan is not long-term, but we will see next week.

“The returning players are all back in contention, but not for 90 minutes. We need to make good choices around this.

“Of course, I am focused on the next game and getting a result. I never risk players and think long-term when returning players during the season.

“Sima has been a long-term out so you can’t expect miracles from the start. He has that quality with pace and goals, it is now about building rhythm again.”

Clement is also confident that John Lundstram will extend his contract at Rangers.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who signed from Sheffield United in 2021, has found good form since the Belgian boss took over at Ibrox last October but his current deal runs out in the summer.

The manager was asked if he was hopeful and confident of Lundstram staying in Govan.

He said: “Yes, I am totally confident about that, that there’s a lot of love from both sides, so that there will be a solution.”

With a Scottish Cup semi-final Rangers continue to chase a domestic treble this season in what would be their first clean sweep in 21 years.

However they return to action a point behind Celtic at the top of the Premiership but with a game in hand over their city rivals.

A win over Hibernian on Saturday would see them return to top-spot until at least Sunday when the Hoops play Livingston at Almondvale.

The third Old Firm game of the season will then take place the following weekend before Rangers play Dundee in their game in hand.

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