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Cyriel Dessers netted his 20th goal of the season to get Rangers over the line against a spirited St Mirren side.

Philippe Clement’s side made heavy weather of the game in Paisley against St Mirren who caused them all manner of problems but who were ultimately complicit in their own downfall with two sloppy defensive moments that they were their undoing.

An own-goal from James Bolton had given Rangers the lead just before the half hour mark before Mikael Mandron restored parity just five minutes later. Bolton then almost atoned for his earlier indiscretion when he unleashed a volley from close range on the cusp of the break that Butland had to top over the bar.

Just as the pressure was building on the Ibrox side in the second period as they struggled to create too much in the way of genuine chances, James Tavernier whipped in a delicious ball to the back post and, with St Mirren in a fankle defensively Dessers peeled away to head into the net after Zach Hemming was caught beneath the ball.

It was tough on a St Mirren side who had started with energy and aggression with Mandron causing a few palpitations in the Rangers defence when he nicked the ball off the toe of a hesitant  Tavernier. Butland got down to save the resultant effort but it was a portent of what was to come as St Mirren looked to ask questions of the Ibrox defence.

Conor McMenamin took aim with an effort that nicked off of John Souttar with Butland again muddying his gloves as he got down to collect.

Rangers slowly started to find their feet in the game with John Lundstram dragging an effort wide of the target before he then forced a decent stop from Zach Hemming.

The Saints stopper was in action again as he pushed a Tavernier effort from distance over the bar while, at the other end McMenamin headed narrowly over from close range as the hosts looked to give as good as they got.

Fabio Silva incurred the wrath of the home support when he took a tumble in the box under the attention of Alex Gogic with Robinson and Clement not quite seeing eye to eye in their technical areas over the incident.

Just after the half hour mark, Rangers broke the deadlock with St Mirren architects of their own downfall

A deep Borna Barisic cross looked to be harmlessly sailing out but Hemming got a fingertip to it to keep the ball in play. It enabled Mohamed Diomande to keep it alive by heading back across goal with James Bolton and Cyriel Dessers wrestling before the former knocked the ball into his own net.

St Mirren’s response, though, was swidft. Within minutes they had restored parity after Mark O’Hara’s deep cross to the back post was met by Mandron who got above Leon Balogun to head past Butland for his eighth goal of the season.

The Rangers keeper had to be alert to keep his side from going blind on the cusp of the break as he tipped a Bolton effort over the bar.

Clement introduced Ross McCausland ten minutes into the second period for the anonymous Silva who had contributed little in the game.

Todd Cantrell pulled an effort wide of the target as Rangers tried to inject some urgency into their play.

It was Rangers, though, who took the lead as Saints were caught napping. Tavernier’s cross picked out Dessers who pulled away from Bolton before nodding into the net. There might have been a third as Tom Lawrence look to make life more comfortable for Rangers in the closing stages but some impressive work from Alex Gogic saw him bolt to his own line and nick the ball out of play.

St Mirren forced Rangers into a late goal-line clearance too but it was the Ibrox side who prevailed to take the points.

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