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Rangers: Philippe Clement on Celtic’s Scottish Premiership lead

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Rangers will be without 11 first-team players when they attempt to prolong the Scottish Premiership title race by beating Dundee on Tuesday.

The 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park on Saturday left Rangers six points behind their rivals – and with a goal difference that is inferior by seven – with both teams having two games remaining.

Philippe Clement will be without John Souttar, Dujon Sterling, John Lundstram, Tom Lawrence, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun, Oscar Cortes, Rabbi Matondo, Abdallah Sima, Danilo and Bailey Rice for the game at Ibrox.

Lawrence, Souttar and Sterling all started the game at Celtic along with Lundstram, who was sent off just before half-time.

Rangers – who won the League Cup two months after Clement arrived at Ibrox – face Celtic in the Scottish Cup final on 25 May.

The manager hopes several players will be back in time for the final, with the biggest doubts over Sima and Danilo.

“If both teams are fully fit, there is not a big gap, but we need to prove this in results on the pitch,” Clement said.

“It is important for now to focus on our next three games – we have to do our best with the players available.

“We will fight really hard into the cup final – we need to stay with 11 [on the pitch] and take our moments.

“We will push everything into the cup final and we know our support will back us as always.”

Clement said there is going to be a significant “rebuild” this summer in the playing staff at Ibrox.

“There’s going to be a turnaround in the squad, that’s clear,” he said. “The recruitment team is really busy looking at good profiles for next season.

“The club knows how necessary it is. But it’s also about now and we need to make the best with what’s available.

“It’s quite a rebuild, but you don’t want to start from zero. We need to do smart things for now and for the future of the club this summer.

“We need assets for the future and experienced players in. It’s not only in recruitment. We need to make smart decisions across other departments to improve the injury situation.”

Clement defended English midfielder Lundstram despite his challenge on Alistair Johnston leaving Rangers with 10 men for the whole of the second half.

“Players make mistakes, managers make mistakes,” Clement added.

“Lundstram has been giving a lot the last months. He has had bad games but always gives his best for this club. He has made a mistake and we now look forward.

“I want to get better and learn from any mistakes – this is what I expect from everyone in the building. I want to win more trophies with this club. It’s now about working hard to improve every day.”

Meanwhile Dundee midfielder Luke McCowan has stressed they must have no regrets over their approach at Ibrox.

Dundee need a victory to keep the pressure on St Mirren in the race for fifth and the final European spot.

Dundee – who finish at home to Kilmarnock – are five points and 11 goals behind the Buddies, who host Heart of Midlothian on Wednesday before a trip to Celtic Park.

“There’s nothing really to lose, let’s go out and try to finish the season with a bang,” said McCowan.

“If we are going to lose the game, lose the game by going for it trying to get a positive result and shock a few people. That’s the plan.”

Dundee will assess Jordan McGhee after he picked up a knock against Hearts while Trevor Carson and Ricki Lamie are doubts. Joe Shaughnessy and Owen Beck are out.

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