IF BIG PHIL maintains his recent level of burble, I fear the folk with the self-hugging cardis may be paying a visit.

Not so long ago, the present incumbent of the Ibrox hot seat was being hailed as some sort of football academic by gushing “insiders” who should have known better than to dive into appraisals of the qualities of someone who had just arrived on these shores.

Philippe Clement had been out of work since being handed his P45 by AS Monaco in June before he fetched up as the successor to the equally erratic Michael Beale in the last week of October.

It wasn’t long before some of the hysterical outpourings made me wonder if I had dropped into a time void and missed the considerable achievement of the quadruple – three domestic honours and the Europa League – now residing in Govan and that part of the city festooned in blue, red and white bunting.

CAN’T BEAR TO LOOK…Philippe Clement in a moment of frustration in the 3-3 draw with Celtic.

Thankfully, reality dictates that scenario, appealing though it clearly is to some of Professor Phil’s optimistic acolytes, is not the case and there is no chance of this phenomenon actually materialising courtesy of Benfica who ejected the team currently masquerading under the nom de plume of Rangers from European competition.

Celtic, too, will have something to say on the foolhardy hubris of silverware cluttering up a trophy toom across the Clyde at the campaign’s conclusion.

The actuality of the situation, however, has not put the brakes on the increasingly unhinged remarks being spouted from the south side of Glasgow. The Belgian egghead has been conjuring some weird and wonderful utterances as he gives his assessment of his team’s present predicament.

They went to Dingwall in a must-win situation against Ross County and toppled to an uncontestably-merited 3-2 defeat, the first time they had ever lost to the Highlanders, an outfit battling against relegation from the top flight.

That was followed by some eyebrow-raising comments after the scoreless stalemate at Dens Park when he gibbered on about Dundee being “very lucky”, the heroic rival keeper producing “good saves” and defenders “standing on the line to block the shot or header”.

This, of course, was news to anyone else who had observed the Tayside confrontation.

FANCY MEETING YOU HERE…Brendan Rodgers and Philippe Clement at Ibrox earlier this month.

Last weekend, Clement did see his team manage to win for the third time in nine games when they earned a Scottish Cup Final place against holders Celtic at Hampden next month. However, the Belgian boffin will surely be cognisant of the fact his players may be up against a more formidable foe than Hearts, who, in everyday parlance, “bottled” the last-four occasion.

Phil can get his scriptwriters to work on his considered preamble before the curtain comes down on the season at the national stadium on May 25, but until such times he faces Brendan Rodgers for the fourth time, he can continue to impart gems of knowledge upon those of us who are unworthy to walk in the shadow cast by this guru from Antwerp.

Preparing for his side’s 12.30pm kick-off against St Mirren in Paisley tomorrow, the managerial mastermind offered this latest concerning spiel to my old paper the Daily Record: “If we look back at the last six months, we’re the team who took the most points.

“We took four points more than Celtic in that period. I think everybody in the club would have signed for that six months ago — nobody believed that would be possible.

“It’s now repeating that again. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s something they’ve proven and now they need to prove it again in the next six games. The team has already done a good job by coming back from that far and getting more points than a team that was leading by seven.”

I’ll save you the bother of attempting to decipher any more of the vocalised tripe, but somewhere in the midst of strangled logic is the line that Phil “won’t ask the players to believe in God.”

Read into that what you will, dear reader.

So, wake up, Phil, and smell the coffee. It’s a matter of fact, champions Celtic are three points ahead with five games to play in the pursuit of their twelfth Premiership crown in 13 years.

No-one really cares what was achieved in six months from the end of October until now. No matter how much you allow your imagination to run amok, there are no medals handed out for efforts during that time span. It’s all about August 5 to May 18.

However, they have not slapped a tax on fantasies yet, so dream on, Phil.

Beware, though. The brutal truth has the habit of obliterating even the most pleasant of reveries.


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