Philippe Clement told his Rangers players to enjoy the moment after they reached the Viaplay Cup final but then warned them nothing has been achieved yet and there’s still hard work to be done.
After a goalless first half, James Tavernier scored a double and Scott Wright found the net at the national stadium before Lawrence Shankland put away a penalty for Hearts, the 3-1 victory setting up a final against Aberdeen next month.
Clement revealed that he had told his players to remain patient at half time and that their efforts would pay off, and he said that he had seen plenty to enjoy in the team’s performance.
The Belgian said reaching the final was reward for the application that everyone involved had put in recently.
“I’m really happy with that because it’s also well deserved and the players are working hard,” he said. “I’m really happy from the first second that I stepped into this club, I feel this group of players, but also the staff around everybody in the club doing it, their maximum to to go my way to follow the story and they’re all working hard.
“So if you work hard, you need to get also some satisfaction after, and an evening like this.
“It’s very important in that way.”
The cup success continued the team’s unbeaten run under Clement and provides another boost ahead of Thursday’s Europa League test against Sparta Prague. But the manager was reluctant to offer any assessment of his time in charge so far, saying that he just wanted the good work to continue and the players to turn their attention to the next challenge after a short time enjoying Sunday’s result.
“I will never judge myself to the outside,” he said. “I do it every day with myself and it’s critical because every day I will make mistakes in this job.
“But I know the story that we want to build, that it’s a good story. I see everybody stepping into that story, also giving the full concentration to do it, and then you get fine football at the end with results.
“So we need to continue like that and not go now in a mood of satisfaction. That’s the big danger now.
So the players can be satisfied this evening and happy and enjoy their time with the family. But from tomorrow I expect everybody to be focused again towards Prague because that’s football.
“Okay, we are in the final, but if you are in a final or a semi-final or a quarter-final, it doesn’t make a difference at the end. It’s about winning something. We’re not there yet.”
Clement stresses the collective achievement but praised James Tavernier’s individual contribution. The Rangers captain fired in a penalty before scoring a perfectly-placed free-kick and Clement was appreciative of the qualities the right-back brings both on and off the park.
“It’s not only goal-scoring, in the first place he is a defender, that is his first job,” the manager said.
“I like a collective way of attacking with a lot of people, he is important that way. He is a leader by example also in the dressing room.
“It is difficult for me today to pick out one player, but the very positive thing for me is that this dressing room has several leaders and we have several leaders who stepped up from the first day, doing the good things and who are really focused and help the young lads.
“It is an important thing as a manager to have several players in your dressing room that are like your right hand. So Tav is one of those.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country