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St Mirren vs Rangers. Scottish Premiership.

The SMiSA StadiumAttendance6,800.

St Mirren 1

  • M Mandron (37th minute)

Rangers 2

  • J Bolton (32nd minute own goal)
  • C Dessers (74th minute)

St Mirren 1-2 Rangers: Cyriel Dessers keeps title hopes alive with winner in Paisley

Match report as Rangers win 2-1 at St Mirren to put pressure on Celtic in the Scottish Premiership title race; Mikael Mandron hit back instantly for St Mirren after James Bolton's own goal had given Rangers the lead; Cyriel Dessers headed in the winner for Philippe Clement's side

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Watch highlights of the Scottish Premiership game between St Mirren and Rangers.

Cyriel Dessers kept Rangers' Scottish Premiership title challenge alive as he headed in a late winner to clinch a 2-1 victory against St Mirren.

Trailing Celtic by three points, Philippe Clement's side knew only a win would do as they look to reclaim the trophy from their Old Firm rivals.

St Mirren's James Bolton poked the ball into his own net to put the visitors ahead but Mikael Mandron sent a brilliant header in off the post to pull them level almost instantly.

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Cyriel Dessers' 20th goal of the season put Rangers back in front at St Mirren

Stephen Robinson's side had their chances before Dessers rose to head home from James Tavernier's cross in what could prove a pivotal goal in an exciting title battle.

The result pulled Rangers level with Celtic ahead of their game at Dundee later on Sunday, while St Mirren remain fifth as they chase a European place for next season.

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Charlie Mulgrew, James McFadden and Kris Boyd discuss how the title race is looking after wins for Celtic and Rangers.

Rangers keep title challenge alive

Rangers kept the pressure on Celtic with a vital win at St Mirren
Image: Rangers kept the pressure on Celtic with a vital win at St Mirren

St Mirren still have plenty to play for after securing another top-six finish and created the first chance of the game as Jack Butland pulled off a good save to deny Mandron in the first minute.

John Lundstram tried his luck from the edge of the box for Rangers, but his curling effort was just wide of the post.

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It was end-to-end and Mandron forced Butland into another save just minutes later before Zach Hemming was forced into action to deny Dessers.

Hemming reacted again to keep the game level as he kept out a Lundstram volley before denying James Tavernier's long-range strike.

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Rangers took the lead against St Mirren through James Bolton's own goal

St Mirren should have had a lead on the half-hour mark but Conor McMenaman fired over from close range and Rangers took advantage of that let-off by taking the lead just moments later when Bolton put the ball into his own net.

Mohamed Diomande headed Borna Barisic's cross back across goal and Bolton got the last touch while Dessers closed in.

But St Mirren fought back and found themselves level soon after when a Mandron's header hit the inside the post before finding the back of the net to make it 1-1.

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St Mirren fired straight back against Rangers thanks to Mikael Mandron's header

And they should have been in front just before half-time but Butland pulled off a terrific save to deny a close-range effort from Bolton in injury-time.

Both sides had chances in the second half with Cantwell coming close for Rangers and O'Hara for St Mirren.

Rangers started to dominate possession and they took the lead again through Dessers who struck from close range to make it 2-1.

Tavernier sent a pinpoint cross to the back post and the Nigeria forward nodded it home for his 20th of the season with 15 minutes remaining.

Clement: It's just about winning

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Rangers' Philippe Clement says that at this stage of the season his only focus was for the team to gain three points against St Mirren

Rangers manager Philippe Clement told Sky Sports:

"You have to take the three points and we did.

"It's a difficult place to come to, they have nothing to lose as their season is already a success and they go full in the fight.

"We get chances to score more, they get chances and Jack [Butland] saved a few good balls but at the end it's about winning and we took the three points.

"I think if you want to win trophies you need a good goalkeeper and a good striker who scores enough goals.

"It's not only Cyriel [Dessers] scoring goals but he's already taken 20 so that's a good amount. We're not only focused on Cyriel scoring goals, he needs to do other things also."

'Dessers' mentality is key'

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Despite scoring 20 goals this season, Rangers' Cyriel Dessers still seems to be receiving criticism - but is it justified?

Sky Sports pundits Kris Boyd, James McFadden and Charlie Mulgrew discuss the importance of Cyriel Dessers in the title run-in:

Kris Boyd:

"He's been criticised for chances missed, but he was brought in with the likes of Sam Lammers and Danilo and been the one there to actually miss the chances while scoring others.

"He's been the man that's had to carry the can for Rangers and he's done that. He's stood up and been counted and walks away again with another winner today.

"He's a handful and he'll be wanting to finish the season strongly with trophies."

James McFadden:

"The crucial thing for Cyriel Dessers is that he puts himself back in there after he's missed a chance, he keeps going back in, he keeps putting himself in a position to miss the chance.

"He's got his reward, 20 goals is a good return for amount of criticism he's received this season.

"If you watched him and didn't know his goal tally, and you judge him on people's opinions you'd guess he hadn't scored any goals, but he's got 20 goals, which is a great achievement."

Charlie Mulgrew:

"You need to have that character to play for Celtic or Rangers and I think the key thing is the mentality of Dessers.

"He'll know the stick he's been getting, he'll be feeling the pressure he's under from the Rangers fans and to score 20 goals is brilliant."

What's next?


St Mirren return to action on May 4 at Dundee. Kick-off 3pm.

Rangers' next Scottish Premiership match is at home to Kilmarnock on May 5, live on Sky Sports. Kick-off 1pm.

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