Rangers threw away the points against Ross County – Philippe Clement

By Sports Desk April 14, 2024

Philippe Clement revealed Rangers failed to heed his half-time warning before slipping to a historic defeat to Ross County which dented their cinch Premiership title hopes.

Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes of a first half in which the home side could have netted at least twice against a below-par Gers outfit.

County then scored two quick-fire second-half goals through Simon Murray and George Harmon before Josh Sims added a stunning third and the hosts survived a late penalty from Gers skipper James Tavernier to win 3-2.

It was the Dingwall club’s first victory over Rangers after 20 defeats and four draws in 24 previous meetings.

The result left the Light Blues four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee on Wednesday night, while second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone as they go into the split.

Clement said: “We threw away the points today. We didn’t start well enough in the first half on the ball and in the duels.

“We had chances but we were not lethal with the chances we had in the first half, a few of which were clear ones.

“You come into half-time in a good way 1-0 ahead and I warned the players it was not good enough in the first half and I wanted to see more second half and keep the clean sheet, but then you concede two goals in five minutes or something like that and start to chase the game.

“That makes it more difficult and you give energy to the opponent who get more energy and put their bodies in front of the ball all over the pitch to make a decisive duel.

“In the last half hour, I saw the urgency and I wanted to see that 90 minutes long, not 30 minutes long.

“There were too many mistakes made in our defensive part which is not usual from our team.

“There were some strange goals to concede and we didn’t score enough with the opportunities we had.

“In the end we give a lot of energy to our opponent and all credit to Ross County who defended with a big heart until the end. We need to see the opposition team don’t get so much energy by being better with and without the ball.”

County boss Don Cowie believes his players “took real belief from what was happening on the pitch” to get a “big win.”

He said: “Even though we conceded the goal we had created a couple of really good chances.

“We weren’t clinical enough and didn’t take them. But you sense it as a player. You realise what’s happening. And they built from that.

“The message at half-time was that we had done really well and we were disappointed to be behind. It was about coming out fast and being positive and they certainly did that.

“At the end of the game it got a bit nervy and that is natural.

“They got the penalty. But I saw a group of players putting their bodies on the line to make sure we got the three points and that was very pleasing.”

Clement explained why he did not shake hands with Cowie immediately after the game – he waited until they met at post-match media duties.

The Gers boss said: “I went inside directly. I wanted to prepare really well what I had to say to the team. Nothing towards him, a lot of credit for him and what he has been doing here.”

Cowie said: “He apologised that he didn’t shake my hand, which I have got no problem with.

“It is a game that he probably expects to come up and win and he is in a pressured situation in terms of fighting for the league title. I had 10 minutes with him prior to the game and he was very respectful. No issues there with me.”

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