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Rangers prolonged their cinch Premiership title race with Celtic after recovering from a rocky start to beat Dundee 5-2 at Ibrox.

Tony Docherty’s men needed a win to stay in the hunt for European football and they took a 2-0 lead inside 40 minutes through defenders Jordan McGhee and Antonio Portales.

Rangers winger Ross McCausland pulled a goal back just before the interval and striker Cyriel Dessers headed in an equaliser seven minutes after the break.

Todd Cantwell’s spectacular effort from wide on the touchline after 66 minutes beat goalkeeper Jon McCracken and went in off the post, albeit it looked like an intended cross.

Antonio Portales
Antonio Portales put Dundee 2-0 up at Ibrox (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Substitute Scott Wright knocked in a fourth late on and curled in another in added time but Rangers’ title fate – all-but sealed with a 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park on Saturday – could be confirmed in less than 24 hours.

Leaders Celtic are three points clear of their city rivals, who have only one game left, and can clinch their third successive title against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Wednesday night while Dundee’s defeat means fifth-placed St Mirren secured European football.

The Rangers fans who turned up less than enthusiastic after the demoralising weekend defeat to Celtic knew that boss Philippe Clement was without the services of 10 injured players with John Lundstram suspended after being sent off at Parkhead.

Ridvan Yilmaz, Nico Raskin, Cantwell and McCausland came into the side as did Leon King, who made his first start of the season.

Ibrox was wet and subdued but the fans were alerted by a powerful Yilmaz drive in the third minute following a neat turn which drew a fine save from McCracken.

Cyriel Dessers
Cyriel Dessers got Rangers back level (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Taysiders were neat and tidy in possession but in the 16th minute Fabio Silva took a pass from Dessers, tip-toed past the Dundee defence and clipped the bar with a vicious angled-drive.

Rangers captain James Tavernier cleared the bar with a free-kick from 25 yards on the half-hour mark before McCracken tipped a shot from McCausland over the bar, after Luke McCowan gave the ball away.

Dundee attacker Amadou Bakayoko then forced Jack Butland into a decent save with a 20-yard drive but the Englishman did not look too clever when McGhee popped up at the back post to stab defender Owen Dodgson’s searching cross down into the ground and into the roof of the net.

More condemnatory boos rang around the stadium when Portales’ cheeky finish from a Dodgson cross following a quick Dundee free-kick sped past Butland and into the far corner.

Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland thanks fans at full-time
Rangers goalkeeper Jack Butland thanked fans at full-time (Andrew Milligan/PA)

McCausland reduced the deficit just before the break when he poked the ball through the legs of McCracken after the Dundee defence hesitated but it was not enough to stop the half-time boos from the disgruntled home supporters.

Better was expected after the break and the home side drew level when Dessers headed in a Cantwell cross from six yards for his 22nd Rangers goal of the season and the hosts found fresh zest.

McCracken parried away a Cantwell effort, Yilmaz fired just over before he was replaced with 21-year-old Robbie Fraser making his debut.

Cantwell’s goal took most people by surprise, including McCracken, with the midfielder picking up a pass from Tavernier wide on the right and firing the ball high over the Dundee keeper and into the net.

McCracken then made terrific saves from Silva and Dessers before the latter somehow knocked a Cantwell cross over the bar, while Wright, one of a clutch of substitutes, added a fourth following a cross from fellow replacement Kieran Dowell and grabbed his double with a fine finish at the death.