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We should’ve scored more goals – Philippe Clement frustrated after Rangers draw

Rangers manager Philippe Clement lamented missed chances at Aberdeen (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Rangers manager Philippe Clement lamented missed chances at Aberdeen (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Philippe Clement would not countenance the notion of a missed opportunity to put Celtic under pressure after a last-gasp James Tavernier penalty rescued a point for Rangers at Aberdeen.

The cinch Premiership leaders dropped two points in their 1-1 draw at home to Motherwell on Saturday to give the Light Blues the chance to dig into their lead, but Clement’s side looked to be heading for defeat at Pittodrie following Bojan Miovski’s early strike.

Rangers hit the woodwork twice in the second half and then, in the final minute of normal time, after being sent by VAR Andrew Dallas to check his pitchside monitor, referee Nick Walsh pointed to the spot, judging Stefan Gartenmann had pulled Connor Goldson’s jersey at a corner.

Skipper Tavernier converted to salvage a point and preserve Clement’s unbeaten record since taking over last month, but Celtic remained eight points clear, albeit having played a game more.

“It is nothing to do with top of the table or whatever,” the Rangers boss said.

“If you had the XG that we had today, we should have scored more goals. It is a big XG for an away game against a tough opponents, all credit to Aberdeen.

“When you go behind to them they defend with a lot of numbers and a lot of passion in small spaces so it is not easy to create so many chances and then it is about centimetres.

“We should have won this game. We had the best chances. It was a day that things didn’t go our way because of a good goalkeeper and twice hitting the crossbar, but finally we got the goal.”

It was revealed earlier this week that, in the first round of top-flight fixtures, only three decisions were deemed incorrect by the Scottish Football Association’s independent review panel.

The 12 Premiership clubs held a meeting with the SFA’s referees department on Thursday to review the performance of VAR during the opening round of fixtures.

Former Belgium defender Clement confirmed himself a fan of the VAR, saying: “I was asked this question a few weeks ago, about my opinion of VAR, and I’m a fan because it makes the game more honest.

“Of course there are still some mistakes and some decisions that stay in a grey area.

“That’s also why you guys (media) have a lot of work, because there are a lot of opinions after games and I think you guys like that also.

“People respond and are fans for one team or another.

“But in the end, if you are objective, you can only say VAR makes the game more honest than in my days. So I’m a fan of that.

“Clearly, it’s a penalty. If you pull a shirt like that, you see the shirt comes like this. It’s a penalty. You cannot use your hands in that way.”

By contrast, Dons boss Barry Robson was far from convinced about the penalty, saying a late VAR decision in Rangers’ favour “doesn’t look good”.

Robson said: “I wasn’t at the VAR meeting – I was training and it was in Glasgow, which wasn’t great timing – but what I heard was there was a lot said about pulling jerseys in boxes and the referees said not every one is a penalty.

“So Stefan got blocked, I think we all see that, so obviously VAR have not bothered looking at the block, they have just looked at the pull of the shirt.

“We are in trouble, aren’t we, if this is the way it is going to go?

“It doesn’t look great. For me it doesn’t look good, another VAR decision going Rangers way in the 90th minute again.”

Asked what he meant by “it doesn’t look good”, he replied: “It is just a goal in the 90th minute – that’s it.”

Asked what he said to referee Walsh after the game, he said: “I hope you got it right. There’s too many decisions been wrong in Scotland.”