Philippe Clement has spoken to the media ahead of the game with Aris. Here is everything he had to say.

How happy are you to have Ross McCausland’s contract settled?

Clearly I’m happy about that. I’ve talked the last couple of weeks and said this is a young talent, he comes out of the academy here, he’s a fan of Rangers, all his family are. He’s done good things with the minutes he’s played. He works hard in training, he’s somebody who wants to become better. He made a good international debut so I think [his new contract] is an important thing. And I think it’s an important signal also. He’s a player who was very popular in the market but he wants to stay here. I think he will have a bright future here if he continues doing what he’s done so far.

How active were you in terms of convincing him or was it the club as a whole?

I always see it as a club as a whole but of course I had some part in the talks.

How important is it for you to stay in European football?

You guys are probably getting bored of me after five weeks but I’ve repeated this every time because it’s my philosophy, it’s my way of life, it’s the way I am - for me, every game is important. So I don’t feel more importance for tomorrow than it was for three days ago or two weeks ago. Every game is important and I’m looking forward to that. And I’m looking forward of course to playing at Ibrox, with a full stadium and all the fans behind us. It gives something extra. But I’m looking forward to every game.

How tough a challenge do you expect it to be?

It’s a tough challenge because it’s a difficult team. They attack with a lot of numbers. They have a lot of speed and have several players who with one action can decide the game. They play in a way that is less predictable than other teams because the attacking part is more chaotic, more based on individual qualities than collective things. So we need to play a really good, organised game. I won’t say a defensive game but we have to be really smart in all situations. If we attack and they keep six players up front, we cannot go with seven players, because then it’s six against three. So it’s important to a good balance in the team again.

Have you looked back at the previous game and how different do you expect it to be?

Of course, I looked back to those games. It’s always interesting to see how the players reacted and what they did. I also asked them what the instructions were for that game. We want to do a few things different from that game, that is clear.

You say you want to win every game…

You guys say that too, that we have to win every game. We agree about that.

How big would it be to seal qualification tomorrow night?

It is never about me, it is always about us. Of course if you can qualify with still one game to play that is a big thing. There are not many teams in Europe who can already qualify so that is a big thing if you can do that. We still have two games to do it. We are going to grab it with two hands to try to do it tomorrow evening. With three hands actually, because I expect the hand of the fans also.

Are the players determined to right a few wrongs from the last game?

I don’t want them to think about the last game because that can create some negativity in your head. I want them to continue what they have been doing until now. In a lot of moments that has been really good. In Aberdeen the first 15 minutes were not good and we had a really good meeting around that and the things that went wrong, and things that went well in the 75 minutes later, and what was the difference. That was a new lesson for all of the group, not just the players on the pitch. With that we will make our story strong and stronger in the next couple of weeks and for sure in the next couple of months. That is the normal way in football.

Is that mental aspect one you have to work on to make sure you don’t start games slowly?

Yes but that is fan talk. It is easy to say intensity and will, but that was there. We just made wrong decisions. Our positioning wasn’t good and with the ball we did things which were not good in those first 15 minutes and later on it was much better. Because of that we created chances. It was not because the players didn’t want it or because they thought ‘we are going to Aberdeen and it is going to be easy’. It is also because of the things Aberdeen did in the beginning of the game. We need to do the right thing in our positioning, how we play a ball, where we play a ball, how we run, all those things. Those things need to be good and of course with the highest intensity and power. All of these things. It is not only about running and fighting, there is much more.

How important is European football after Christmas to you and club? 

I want ambitious people in the building. I want to create winners. And winners are, for me, people who always want to win. Not one competition, or two. They want to win everything they do, they want to win in training. I cannot put priorities into one competition because then I don’t create winners. So, that’s the thing for tomorrow. It’s the next game, going full, and knowing if you win that you take the next step. Being in Europe after January is an important thing for the club, for the players also. Everybody likes to play with all Europe watching these games.  As a club, it’s also important to have good European results because it adds stature to your club. 

Can competing at a higher level in Europe help domestically? 

It doesn’t guarantee. You can win against Barcelona in one game then three days later, if you don’t have the right mentality, you can lose to Ross County. That’s also football. It doesn’t give guarantees but of course those are good experiences. And we need to try and get that rhythm of playing in Europe also into your domestic games. 

Will you have to strengthen the squad to compete in Europe and domestically after Christmas?

How long have I been here now? Five weeks? It is still five weeks at least until January so I am only halfway on the journey to really make good decisions around that. There are a few players that I didn’t even see yet on the pitch to play games or who have trained two or three times in the five weeks. To make a clear opinion about all the squad, it is not realistic to do it now for the moment. Of course we have ideas and we have talked about that and we are looking at things as a club because there is also an imbalance to the squad, in some positions we have a lot of players and in others some not. Those are things to look towards for January and the rest it is going to be very interesting in the next five weeks how all the players will perform.

How is the squad for Thursday night?

There are a few players out because they are not on the list. It is not a nice thing to say but I need to repeat it every time because those are players who did good things in the last couple of weeks. For the rest, it doesn’t change too much. Raskin will not be back yet, Ryan Jack will not be back yet and Scott Wright is a doubt. He has been sick but he is also struggling a little bit muscular so we will see if he is in the selection or not.

What are your thoughts on sin bins being trialled by IFAB?

That for me is a difficult thing because I think it becomes a little bit a circus then with players coming in and out constantly during a game. I think some people are already protesting against VAR because it stops the game and the referee needs to go out and in. But it makes the game more honest so you need to see the negative things are, for me, less than the positive things in that way. You get more honest results at the end so I am positive about that. If players need to go out for two minutes, five minutes, I don’t know how much time, then what is the moment to come in? It is already difficult at the moment if you have an injured player and you restart and he is on the sideline. It is difficult to get him in sometimes and is a big discussion with the referees – where is the ball, what is the danger? I think it would create more fuss than is necessary.

There is talk of using VAR for more decisions so is that something you would like?

I don’t think it is good to stop the game more than it is now. I think it is necessary to be really good in the important decisions. All the other decisions, because there are a lot of decisions in football, I think also one of the charms of the game is that there are discussions. You guys like that, the fans like that also to discuss about things after the game. If we stop all the time, we don’t get fluid football anymore and then you destroy the game also. I am a fan about making the critical decisions, when it is really clear as far as possible. There is always in some decisions a grey area. If it is that way yes, if it is more no.