Philippe Clement: I got the response I demanded in Rangers win over Hearts

Rangers reached the Scottish Cup final with a 2-0 win at Hampden.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement saw his side defeat Hearts to reach the Scottish Cup final and said they showed the right response to recent setbacks.

At the end of a week that saw the team lost to Ross County and draw with Dundee, damaging their title hopes in the process, Cyriel Dessers scored twice to give Rangers a 2-0 win in the cup semi and set up a date with Celtic in the final.

“It’s what I expected,” Clement said. “It’s what I demanded. It’s what I wanted.

“It’s also what I knew I would get from the team.

“I was totally not pleased about Ross County, where we lost our structure and our normal football. Against Dundee we were in too much of a rush to score and we lost some overview. Today we found the right balance again.”

Asked if the win had restored confidence after the disappointing league results, the Rangers boss said it was because the players had kept their belief that they were able to reach the levels needed to see off Hearts.

“It doesn’t work that way,” he said. “If the confidence isn’t there then you can’t play like that. The confidence stays there.

“The players took the recent results on the chin. We all did.

“We were disappointed about that, took the right conclusions and then did better things with and without the ball. We’re back where we want to be.”

Clement rang the changes for the Hampden showdown, bringing Leon Balogun, Mohamed Diomande, Rabbi Matondo and Dessers in to the team, with Connor Goldson notably dropping to the bench.

The manager said that he was seeing more options as players came back from injury and is optimistic that it can ensure a strong and successful end to the season.

“It’s been challenging in the last couple of months with players in and out, that rhythm coming out of injuries,” he said. “Today you see the bench is stronger again.

“That’s going to be important in the next couple of weeks and we’ll only have one game a week.

“Ahead of this cup semi-final we were the only team who played during the week. It makes a difference.

“You need to look at that if you have three games in seven or eight days and you have players coming back from injury. You can’t let them play all the minutes so that’s been a puzzle.

“Now there’s going to be a real challenge in the squad with players coming back. The quality rises in training and in the game also because you have a strong bench.”

Cyriel Dessers shone at Hampden, scoring both his side’s goals and taking his tally for the season to 19. The Nigerian forward has had his share of missed chances as well, and drawn criticism, but Clement was keen to stress that he hadn’t dropped the striker for the midweek match against Dundee, when Kemar Roofe started in his place.

“People see these things totally wrong,” he said. “I know it’s difficult if you’re a journalist or a fan and you don’t know all the circumstances or how the decisions are made.

“With Cyriel, first you have the story that Danilo has a really severe injury and is out for the season, out for months. Before that, Cyriel and Danilo are alternating and both playing.

“We got Fabio (Silva) into the building but over the last month we have needed Fabio on the wing because we had injuries there.

 “So Cyriel has played a lot, a lot, a lot of minutes.

“Look at all the top teams in the world. All the teams who are playing a lot of games like we are playing, there’s a lot of alternating the offensive players because you need this freshness to show your quality.

“If you don’t have the freshness, everything is a little bit slower and you don’t create the chances any more.

“So that’s why I didn’t start Cyriel on Wednesday.“

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