Philippe Clement questions decision to rule out Rangers goal in cup final loss

Philippe Clement questioned referee Nick Walsh’s decision to rule out a Rangers goal in the 150th anniversary Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final against Celtic before they lost 1-0 to a late Adam Idah strike.

The Light Blues had failed to win any of the four cinch Premiership games against the champions but made a much better fist of it against the Hoops at Hampden Park.

There was a possible penalty claim ignored for a Liam Scales push on Gers attacker Dujon Sterling in the first half but it looked like the Ibrox side had taken the lead just before the hour mark when substitute Abdallah Sima knocked in a James Tavernier corner.

However, when Walsh looked at his pitchside monitor he ruled a foul had been committed by Nico Raskin on Celtic keeper Joe Hart, before substitute Idah scored the winner in the last minute of normal time.

Clement said: “The general thought is that you are disappointed that you lose because I think – no I don’t think, even people of Celtic were saying that and they are not really neutral – that we were the better team today.

“I am also proud about what the team have showed today. Do we need to take steps? Yes.

“We get two shots on target today, we get a goal. We created six shots on target.

“We need to score in that moment. If you have the scenario also that you score goals and they are disallowed in that way, that is also in that moment a disappointment when I compare with the push that Scales gives to Dujon Sterling in the first half.

“It is a much bigger push than what happened with Joe Hart. If I see also how all the Celtic defenders are grabbing my players and having their arms around their neck, around their waist, it is a really big call to make to disallow that goal.

“Otherwise you go 1-0 in front and we were the better team in that moment and there becomes even more space.

“They are honest, they make their decisions. It is a grey area that one. It is not white or black. So he made the decision. Of course as a manager you are disappointed about that after the game.

“I am sure if we score the 1-0 that we would score the second one and win the game. You felt, everybody felt, that we had control of the game and Celtic were getting really tired.”

Clement refused to blame Gers keeper Jack Butland for spilling substitute Paulo Bernard’s long-distance effort which allowed Idah to swoop and knock in the winner.

He said: “It is a really difficult shot. Jack was in the rest of the game really good, and Joe Hart was really good.

“So, no. I don’t think… You can always say details and he should have pushed the ball to the side but the ball was really going like that. That is an unlucky moment.”

Clement will revamp his squad to give Celtic a better run for their money next season while undertaking a European campaign but admits that will be a “massive challenge”.

The Belgian boss, who signed Brazilian full-back Jefte on a four-year deal on Friday, said: “It is a massive challenge because there is not much time. That is the reality.

“You have qualifying games for Champions League in August, you have five league games also so that is nine games in four weeks.

“You need to rebuild the squad. We have several players out of contract who will leave the building so you need to replace them without money coming inside.

“That is also one thing. We need to be really inventive in our transfers and doing the smart things.

“It is going to be really challenging but we are busy already with that for months within the club. You see already that we bring in Jefte yesterday, who is a young player, talented.

“They will need also their time to adapt. How long? That is always difficult to predict. Some players they adapt really fast, some players need more time but we are working hard to get more quality in the building.”