Rangers survived 45 minutes with 10 men after a first-half comeback against Dundee earned a 3-1 win at Ibrox.

Amadou Bakayoko had opened the scoring for the visitors following a corner before the home side raced into a 3-1 lead. Not without their defensive deficiencies, a red card awarded to Jose Cifuentes on the stroke of half-time confused matters for Philippe Clement without any other midfielders on the bench.

In a cagey second half where control was constantly up for grabs, Clement’s men managed to largely keep the visitors at bay and secure an important victory. 

The Rangers Review picks apart the big talking points below…

Drama and dodgy defending before the break 

Rangers have a habit of making things difficult for themselves wit below-par starts and after conceding an early goal when Jack Butland had bailed them out with a huge one-on-one stop moments earlier, this felt like one of those days. But then an emphatic response would follow Bakayokko's opener. A Cyriel Dessers goal levelled up the game before Kevin Clancy was sent to the VAR screen to award the home side a penalty after Abdallah Sima was fouled in the penalty box. James Tavernier converted before Sima made his mark from a corner again, this time converting Tavernier’s cross to head home emphatically at the front post. For all their potency at one end, the hosts missed Connor Goldson at the other. Whether it was slips, misplaced passes or an inability to deal with the direct numbers Dundee committed, this game always felt open and on the stroke of half time, having been sent to the VAR monitor once again, Clancy handed out a red card to Jose Cifuentes for violent conduct. Clement’s midfield options were already slender at best at the start of this week, now injury and suspension leave him without Tom Lawrence and Cifuentes. There was a big puzzle to be solved at the break and more solutions will need to be found over the course of the next week.

Sterling's role and a nervy second period 

Dujon Sterling started the second half in midfield next to John Lundstram as Clement chose to set up his ten men in a 4-4-1. Clement’s options to fill a role next to Lundstram were null with five defenders and three attackers accompanying Robby McCrorie on the bench. Bailey Rice and Cole McKinnon, the two central options from the B team, were not involved. Clement resisted the urge to move to a 4-3-2 presumably due to a lack of central options. The hosts’ played out the second looking very much like a team making do with the tools available. Without a physical focal point to play over pressure, Jack Butland was guilty of putting his team in danger and the lack of midfield profiles showed. Even at the best of times, Rangers can appear uncomfortable playing out through pressure in the midfield and today was far from ideal circumstances. At one point with 20 minutes remaining, it took a superb intervention from Leon Balogun to stop Scott Tiffoiney converting when Tavernier headed straight into his path. Clement has twice mentioned this week that when watching Rangers’ games before arrival, he did not see “much of a team", adding: “Before I came here I didn’t see too much of a team in the images I saw. Now I see a team, I see a dressing room where everybody wants to fight, where people come in and play not in their best position but do a job for the team, like Dujon Sterling did at the end when he came on at left-back.” Again, Sterling did a job for the team in unfamiliar territory. Although not glamorous nor convincing at many points, Rangers' spirit, fight and work was obvious throughout. Any issues experienced after the break were largely of Rangers' own making and Sterling's stunning late effort which cracked the post was the closest sighting of another goal in the game.

Dessers gets his goal 

The news in Friday’s press conference that Danilo may require surgery on a knee injury that will keep him out of action until the new year at least was another blow in a litany of injury issues. Not only will Clement miss his first choice No.9 for the foreseeable, but the options behind Danilo have been inconsistent at best. Dessers has endured one of the most difficult starts to life witnessed at Ibrox in recent seasons. However, the forward now has one more goal under Clement (four) than the three managed in Michael Beale’s spell. Few would suggest Dessers will ever be the long-term option up top he was supposed to be when purchased in the summer, regardless of the goals or form that may follow. But for the moment, with Sima thriving on the left and not at his best operating as a back-to-goal central forward and Kemar Roofe’s availability issues well documented, Dessers simply needs to play. The 29-year-old’s impact dissolved after his team went down to 10 and the lack of physical dominance which has held him back often at Ibrox came to the fore again. With that said, his first 45 will build confidence ahead of a defining week.

Sima remains the protagonist 

After his manager asked for a more selfish streak to emerge in his game, Sima has scored four goals in three games. Amongst talk of a potential move to the middle, the 22-year-old was again direct, threatening and dangerous with his vertical running from the left. After winning a spot-kick that Tavernier would convert to establish a lead the on-loan forward burst the net with a near-post header to score a vitally important third in the overall context of the afternoon. Now more than ever this Rangers side requires difference-makers in the final third who will decide games and Sima is firmly this side’s protagonist on current form. With his hard work obvious, goal threat consistent and threat to opposition defenders never far away, Sima has very quickly become a favourite of the crowd. Most importantly, as all big players do, he’s stepping up in big moments when required most.