Philippe Clement has hailed Rangers ‘crucial’ unbeaten run throughout February as he celebrated being named Scottish Premiership Glen’s Manager of the Month for the second consecutive time.

Clement has spearheaded Rangers quest to win the Scottish Premiership title since replacing Michael Beale last Autumn, and with six wins from six during February, the Light Blues leapfrogged Celtic into pole position in the league standings.

Two points separate the fierce Glasgow rivals with nine games left to play. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Rangers boss insisted he was delighted at how things have panned out. He said: "It's crucial, it's important. We take the lead in the Premiership so that's crucial and also with the circumstances with cup games in between and the tough schedule, it was important to take so many points."

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Rangers hopes of winning the Europa League came crashing down on Thursday night as Portuguese giants Benfica triumphed 1-0 winners at Ibrox, clinching the last 16 tie 3-2 overall. 

Clement was extremely disappointed that their European journey came to an end but wanted to praise the sold-out Ibrox crowd for sticking by the team until the very last whistle. A shift he claims to have noticed in recent months.

He stated: "No, no special new ones. Okay, you can look back at the game and look at all the actions and you make a debrief of the game with the team.

"So, what I said after the game that if we had played that game two months ago, we wouldn't have reached the same level, so the team is growing. Although, we had injuries to a lot of important players also who are not available, I thought we played a much better game than we played in Lisbon. 

"We were much better on the ball, they tried to press us but they didn't succeed in that and we pushed them backwards. And again, it's a game where it's decided on small margins. You need to take these moments or you need to have the luck to take these moments and it was a question of a few centimetres at times.

"I'm proud of what the boys did, they played a good game, they gave everything and I'm proud of the fans also because they sticked behind the team all the time and even in the disappointment of everybody; players, staff and also fans, everyone stayed after the game to congratulate the players and I think it's a huge thing. 

"If I see the evolution made in that the last couple of months, this togetherness it's at a really strong point now, and the fans see that the team gave its best but on the other side we also had a really good team in Benfica."

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He continued as he discussed how the schedule could help his squad in their quest to lift the league title and Scottish Cup. He added: "It's different, of course. But I would've preferred to have stayed in Europe. I want to go as high as possible with this group of players and to give them these experiences. 

"It's also a huge thing towards now and towards the future. We have a lot of young guys who played for the first time at this level. The more experiences that they get at that level, the better they will become. 

"So, it's now focusing on our domestic things and take as many points as possible, and to work hard to go to this final, and try to win two of those trophies. That would be amazing. We are going to do maximum to get as high as possible with it."