Soccer

Philippe Clement pleased with Todd Cantwell reaction in win against St Mirren

Rangers’ Todd Cantwell is back in Philippe Clement’s good books (Steve Welsh/PA)
Rangers’ Todd Cantwell is back in Philippe Clement’s good books (Steve Welsh/PA) Rangers’ Todd Cantwell is back in Philippe Clement’s good books (Steve Welsh/PA)

Todd Cantwell gave Rangers boss Philippe Clement the post-European response he was looking for with two assists in a 2-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox.

The former Norwich player was replaced after just 35 minutes of the 1-1 Europa League draw against Aris Limassol on Thursday night after not playing the wide-right position to his manager’s satisfaction.

After a pep-talk from the Belgian, Cantwell was moved into the middle for the visit of the Buddies and helped set up Abdallah Sima for his two goals, which took the Light Blues to within eight points of leaders Celtic having played a game fewer.

“We talked about the game on Thursday and he agreed that he was not doing what he should do,” said Clement,  who revealed that absent midfielder Nico Raskin has a “really small” chance of being back for the Viaplay Cup final against Aberdeen at Hampden Park on December 17.

“He was frustrated himself about that. So this was the reaction I wanted to see.

“It’s a team sport. Otherwise we need to become a tennis player or something.

“You’re part of a team, Todd is part of a team and we talked about that. We know it’s a better position for him but we also have to look at the other circumstances with all the injurie on the right side.

“We didn’t have many players available and he did a good job there also.

“Don’t forget this. Against Sparta Prague he was one of the best players. And he knows that.

“He stays available to play on the right side or the left side. About that we also had a really clear talk.”

Raskin has been out since injuring his ankle against Hearts on October 29 and it was not positive news that Clement delivered, albeit fellow midfielder Ryan Jack could return soon.

He said: “Ryan Jack will not be so long. Nicolas Raskin will have a new assessment in the beginning of the week because his rehab is not going well.

“So I’m not so happy about that but it’s the way it is. We need to find other solutions.

“I think the chance is really small for the moment (to make final). But I’m not a doctor and I’m for sure not a specialist in these things.

“We will go to the best people to find the best and fastest solution.”

St Mirren ended the weekend in fourth place and now have won only two of their last 10 matches in all competitions.

However, manager Stephen Robinson did not criticise his players.

He said: “I’m not sure what people expect when you look at the resources. We had a loss of £1.6 million when I arrived and now we’re sitting fourth with no debt.

“The only people that deserve credit for that are the players.

“They are the ones that have turned it round, they have made the crowds come back and they are the ones selling merchandise.

“They are putting performances in on the pitch so they won’t get any criticism from me.

“They are brilliant, brilliant boys with 100 per cent commitment and enthusiasm.

“They play for the badge every single week and I’ve got nothing but praise for this group of players.”