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Cyriel Dessers scores again as Rangers battle to victory over St Mirren

Rangers’ Cyriel Dessers, right, scores against St Mirren (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Rangers’ Cyriel Dessers, right, scores against St Mirren (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Cyriel Dessers again showed his growing importance to Rangers with the only goal in a narrow 1-0 win over St Mirren.

The 29-year-old striker was not initially a popular figure among the Rangers fans in his early months at Ibrox following his summer move from Cremonese.

However, he has slowly worked his way into the supporters’ good books, especially since the arrival of boss Philippe Clement in October, and he pounced after 14 minutes of the cinch Premiership game in Paisley to score for a third successive match.

The crucial strike took his tally to the season to 12 and keeps the Light Blues in pursuit of league leaders Celtic.

It was a tough afternoon for the Govan side in difficult conditions against a determined Buddies outfit who pushed them all the way.

Following the convincing 3-0 win at Hibernian on Wednesday night, Clement made four changes with defender Connor Goldson back from suspension and Dujon Sterling, Scott Wright and Dessers coming back in while Stephen Robinson returned captain Mark O’Hara and forward Lewis Jamieson.

The swirling wind was a difficult opponent for both sides but the visitors started better without unduly troubling Zach Hemming until Dessers struck.

Midfielder John Lundstram’s perfectly-weighted pass from the middle of the park allowed Dessers to run clear of the Saints defence and round the hesitant Buddies keeper before rolling the ball into the net and taking the acclaim of the travelling fans.

St Mirren were forced out of their shell and the response, led by striker Jonah Ayunga, was impressive.

In the 20th minute midfielder Kwon Hyeok-kyu, on loan from Celtic, blazed the ball over the bar from 12 yards to the groans of the home support.

Moments later, at the other end, Gers skipper James Tavernier clipped the outside of the post with a powerful drive from 20 yards.

However, the Ibrox side were struggling to build on their lead.

Light Blues keeper Jack Butland blocked a Jamieson drive with his foot after the Gers defence was breached again, albeit the offside flag went up.

And in the 37th minute Butland pushed a drive from Kwon round the post but the corner was defended.

St Mirren had edged the first half notwithstanding the goal and the visitors brought on Tom Lawrence and Ross McCausland for Scott Wright and Todd Cantwell at the start of the second half and it re-energised the Govan side.

Sterling headed a Tavernier cross over the bar in the 54th minute before Dessers smacked the base of the post with a left-footed drive.

Robinson needed another avenue towards the leveller.

Ayunga and Jamieson were replaced by Mikael Mandron and debutant James Scott, who signed initially on loan from Exeter in midweek with the deal becoming permanent in the summer.

In the 79th minute there was a VAR check for a possible St Mirren penalty for a handball in the Gers box following a corner but no action was taken.

A terrific block from Ibrox defender John Souttar denied Alex Gogic a strike on goal and, from the resultant corner, James Bolton headed off the post.