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Cyriel Dessers says Rangers ‘can hurt’ Celtic after dramatic Old Firm draw

SoccerNews in Scottish Premier League 8 Apr 2024

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Cyriel Dessers believes Rangers can get the Celtic Park win they might need in the final Old Firm cinch Premiership game of the season.

The Gers striker described Sunday’s 3-3 draw at Ibrox as “one of the craziest games of my life” and it left the Light Blues one point behind the Hoops at the top of the table having played a game fewer.

Rangers will play their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but still have to go to Parkhead after the split.

Despite a 2-1 defeat there in December, which followed a 1-0 defeat at Ibrox in September, Dessers revealed confidence when asked if the Light Blues were capable of winning in the east end of Glasgow.

The 29-year-old Nigeria international said: “We showed on Sunday we can score three goals against a good team and also in the previous two games, obviously we lost them, but I don’t think it was fully deserved.

“We showed we can hurt them and if we’re a little more lucky – like with the first goal – and we can take our moments then we can get a good win there.

“Obviously it is very close, like I said.

“I think we saw that quality-wise we are also very close to each other. But I hope after Wednesday that I can say that we are on top of the league.

“With the result and performance on Sunday, in the second half especially, that will give us a mental boost as well.

“So I hope we are slightly ahead. We will have to be ready from now until the last game, but I think we are.”

Philippe Clement’s side found themselves a goal down after just 21 seconds when an attempted clearance from hesitant skipper James Tavernier rebounded off Daizen Maeda and sped past keeper Jack Butland.

Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley dinked in a penalty but Tavernier scored from the spot as the hosts rallied after the interval.

Dessers had a strike ruled out for an earlier infringement before Abdallah Sima levelled in the 86th minute, only for Adam Idah to restore Celtic’s lead.

There was more drama when Ibrox substitute Rabbi Matondo levelled in eight minutes of added time.

Dessers has scored 17 goals this season since signing from Cremonese last summer but hopes to break his Old Firm duck at Parkhead.

He said: “Yeah, I thought I scored and I celebrated as well. So I had a little taste of the feeling.

“But I was unlucky because it got chalked off. I heard it was a foul which was unlucky for me and for the team in that moment. But we bounced back.

“I am getting closer all the time so the next game would be a very good moment to score my first Old Firm goal.

“It is difficult to sum up the things I felt on Sunday. It was one of the craziest games of my life.

“That is obvious if you see what happens after 21 seconds, if you see what happens after the first-half, if you see what happens at the end, in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game. It is too much to sum up.

“But I think I can sit here and speak for the team, speak for Rangers, and say we have to have a positive feeling.

“If we can come back like that in a big game like that with the pressure full on then it says a lot about the team and the mentality of the team.”

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