Ibrox Stadium – Picture Credit – Steve Daniels – The Rangers Megastore at Ibrox Park © Steve Daniels :: Geograph Britain and Ireland
Two games on from when Michael Beale was sacked as Rangers manager, the club are still looking for their 19th permanent manager.
It looks like Ibrox bosses have narrowed their shortlist down to two; former Rangers player and current Yokohama F. Marinos gaffer Kevin Muscat as well as former Monaco manager Philippe Clement who are now seen as the favourites.
Both are seen as worthy enough to take over in the eyes of the fans, as The Clyde Insider looks into the five reasons why both have been shortlisted for the Ibrox hotseat.
With both taking charge at their first clubs as interim managers in 2012, the two have varying degrees of success as their careers have transitioned from the pitch to the dugout.
Muscat took over essentially where he left off in his playing career as he became boss for Melbourne Victory in Australia but it was only for one game which he won, 2-1.
Muscat was then succeeded as caretaker boss by Jim Magilton but a poor start to the season saw him sacked and then replaced by former Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou as Muscat was brought back into the fold to be his assistant.
Postecoglou finished the season in 3rd place and then left to manage Australia to the 2014 World Cup, leaving Muscat in charge.
Muscat stayed there for six years and played a part in winning Melbourne Victory an A-League Premiership and Championship in 2015 and then another A-League Premiership title in 2018.
Following his former boss once again, Muscat joined up with Postecoglou in 2017 as the Australian national team went to Russia for the Confederations Cup.
Muscat then moved to Europe in 2020, leading Belgian side Sint-Truidense, however he was sacked just after six months for poor results.
Currently, Muscat is continuing to follow in the foot steps of his fellow countryman Postecoglou after he took over directly from him at Yokohama F. Marinos in 2021.
In his latest match in charge for Yokohama, it appeared Muscat was waving goodbye to the fans, possibly adding more fuel to the fire about him once again following his former boss and taking charge of an Old Firm team directly from Yokohama.
Similar to Muscat, Clement took over his first managerial post as interim as he went on to manage his former team Club Brugge.
Clement took charge of Club Brugge on interim basis for two years straight as he was called in to help the club while they tried to find their man for the job.
Unlike, Muscat, Clement didn’t take charge of his first club as a permanent manager until 2017 with Waaslan-Beveren. He was there for only five months before he impressed enough in his short stint with Belgian powerhouses Genk.
The Belgian was there for two years as he won the Belgian Pro League in his first full season in 2018-19.
Clement’s career came full circle as he was eventfully appointed permanent manager 2019.
His biggest achievements as both player and manager have came from Club Brugge as he finished what he started as a player, winning the Belgian Pro League again, this time twice around, in back to back seasons bringing his total to five league titles in Belgium.
Bringing success as well as experience to the post could be vital in landing the Gers gig as Clement has been in Europe and more importantly the Champions League in the last few seasons, finishing 3rd in tough groups that feature the likes of Real Madrid and PSG in 2019 and then Dortmund and Lazio in 2020 whilst guaranteeing European football for after Christmas with the Europa League.
The only dark spot as manager was his spell with Monaco, who he joined after his successful spell in the three years he was in charge.
Clement was in charge for a season and a half before biting the bullet in France. After a 3rd place finish in his first season, he followed that up by being put out of Champions League qualification by the hands of PSV, who Rangers put out in 2022.
Possibly on the harsh side, Clement was sacked at the end of last season after finishing 6th, as he lost the last five of his seven games which saw them miss out on Europe for this season.
How they use the transfer market?
The markets both have been spending in are completely different to one another.
Muscat has been dipping into the Asian market just like former Celtic boss did.
Players like Kyogo, Maeda and Hatate have immediately become household names since being brought in from Asia and it would make sense to think that Muscat, if appointed, would know the market nearly as well as his former manager.
Clement may have the upper hand in terms of knowing some players at the club currently as fellow countryman Nicolas Raskin has backed Clement to be a success if he was brought in.
Raskin, when asked about Clement possibly taking over, said: “He did very good with the two teams he had in Belgium.
Asked if he would be a good fit, Raskin replied: “I think so, yeah. He’s going to bring clarity (and) an attacking style.”
Rangers’ arguably biggest problem all season has been scoring goals, something which has surprised many following the big summer signings of Cyriel Dessers, for £4.5 million and Denilo for around £6million from Feyenoord.
Dessers played a big part in almost costing the league for Club Brugge in 2021 as he scored a penalty against Clement’s side with a 85th minute penalty that nearly cost Club Brugge the title.
Ultimately, Clement will know Dessers’ weaknesses and strengths but also, if Clement was brought in, the Belgium league is now well known for it’s exciting young players and has been for years now, with Rangers securing recent signings, Rabbi Matondo and Nicolas Raskin, as well as former winger Fashion Sakala from that competition.
Winning mentality as managers
Both are undoubtedly “winners” as they both have been throughout their playing and managerial careers.
Clement clearly has the better honours between the two, but Muscat did win the treble with Rangers in 2003.
Clement has won the Belgium league title five times now, an impressive feat regardless of how you put it but hasn’t down much to catch the eye of Rangers fans outside of Belgium.
How they play?
Both have been known to use primarily a 4-3-3 in which has brought Rangers back to relevancy and success, both domestically and in Europe.
The formation helped bring an invincible title and record breaking defence with them as well as a runners-up medal in the 2022 Europa League campaign.
It could be seen as a long time coming but a change in formation is seen as unlikely with whoever takes the post.
Clement is seen as a more patient manager in terms of holding the ball and dictating the game, as most Rangers games go in Scotland.
Meanwhile, Muscat is seen as a more ruthless manager in terms of going for the throat as soon as possible, similar to how Ange had his teams set up at Celtic.
Who would the fans prefer?
As touched on before Muscat’s success as a player at Rangers has really helped his credentials for the job.
He also uses similar tactics and systems that brought Ange’s Celtic success for two seasons, and we’re seeing this style of play replicated with Spurs in England.
Clement is seen by many as less of a risk than Muscat but at this stage Rangers need to back whoever it is for the long run.
With an international break still to be played, it could be vital to bring a manager in sooner rather than later to help them get acquainted on the training pitch before their first potential game against Hibs on the 21st October.