Cyriel Dessers has tried, tried and tried again this season. The same can be said of Rangers. Three Old Firm games have yet to deliver a goal for the striker or a win for the blue half of Glasgow but the ultimate prize individually and collectively is still within sight and within grasp at Ibrox.

As he reflected on a remarkable afternoon that perhaps encapsulates the twists and turns of this title race, Dessers had to lament his own one that got away. There was a sense that this was an opportunity missed for Philippe Clement’s side but it was also true that Rangers performed a great escape on derby day. Had Dessers not been denied his moment, it could all have been very different.

Rangers were in the ascendancy when James Tavernier converted from the spot to reduce their arrears after a first half that was up there with the most abject and embarrassing that has been produced in this fixture over the last decade. When Dessers bundled the ball over the line, Ibrox erupted. The Nigerian international was carried on a wave of emotion as he sprinted towards the corner flag and he was soon engulfed by a delirious support that could see victory and the Premiership summit just minutes after fearing their title bid was set to suffer a serious setback.

The wait during a VAR check was tense. Many in the stands got the wrong end of the stick when John Beaton signalled and then pointed to the middle of park. He had awarded Celtic a free-kick rather than given Rangers the goal as Tom Lawrence was penalised for a foul. It was a point of frustration for Clement given that it happened some distance from the Celtic area but the Belgian didn’t cause a fuss post-match. Either did Dessers, a man who has had fair share of highs and lows throughout a rollercoaster maiden term in Glasgow.

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The first comeback was completed by Abdallah Sima with five minutes of regulation time remaining. Rangers still required another hero, though, and it was Rabbi Matondo that rose to the occasion as his moment of magic earned Clement’s side a draw. The status quo remained at the top of the table but a trip to Dundee now offers Rangers the chance to move ahead of their Old Firm rivals once again.

“It is difficult to sum up the things I felt on Sunday,” Dessers said. “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.

“I think it is clear that this will give us a massive boost. Hopefully we can win the postponed game and then we go on top. That is what we want. It is close, everybody could see that on Sunday. So we will have to be ready from now until the last game, but I think we are.”

That possibility is only on the cards because of a comeback that Clement claimed showed the ‘real face’ of his side after the break. Trailing to a freak opener as Daizen Maeda capitalised on Tavernier’s sloppiness and a Matt O’Riley penalty, Rangers were rightly booed off at the break. At that stage, they were staring at a five-point deficit at the top of the table.

Tavernier’s spot kick was the platform for Rangers. Dessers may have been denied but Sima and Matondo produced when they were needed and a point was salvaged. On another day, Rangers could have taken all three and Dessers himself fired just wide in the final seconds.

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Clement could be proud and pleased come the whistle. A lap around the pitch allowed the supporters and the players the chance to appreciate their respective efforts. An hour earlier, Clement had said all he needed to inside the home dressing room.

“He was not angry, but he was not happy either,” Dessers said. “He said actually that he didn’t recognise his team and I fully agree with him. All the things we have done so well in the last months I didn’t see them enough. I didn’t think that we played very bad, but we didn’t show it enough in the first half.

"He just said we had to go back to basics and think about all the things that we have been working on in the last months. You see immediately in the second half there is a big difference. If you can turn a big game around like this, not only mentally but also tactically and technically, that says a lot.”

A victory at Dens Park would be another significant step forward for Rangers. It would take them back to the summit of the standings but nothing will be decided for some time yet as the Old Firm look ahead to the final fixture before the split and the five defining ones to come after it. The fact that Rangers will have to travel to Parkhead in one of them was a source of comfort for Celtic on a day that they should have converted 2-0 and 3-2 leads into a victory.

The final derby of the campaign is likely to go a long way to deciding the outcome of the title race. It is one that Dessers will look forward to when the time is right. For now, Clement’s side have other business to take care of whilst keeping an eye on the fortunes of their Old Firm foes.

“Obviously it is very close, like I said,” Dessers said. “I think on Sunday we saw that quality-wise we are also very close to each other. But, yeah, 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, I think that will give us a mental boost as well. So I hope we are slightly ahead.

“Yeah, definitely [we are capable of winning at Celtic Park]. We showed [on Sunday] we can score three goals against a good team and also in the previous two games, obviously we lost, 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 then we can take our moments then we can get a good win there.

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“We know what’s at stake, what’s happening with this game. Yeah there might be a little more tension but I think that’s part of this game and why we are all happy and hungry to play it and fight until the last second like we did. It’s a special game and we got through it.”

The next fixture will be a very different one for a variety of reasons. It remains to be seen if it will even take place as planned as Rangers await news from Tayside on the conditions, both overhead and underfoot, ahead of Wednesday evening. 

The meeting with Tony Docherty’s side will be a test in every regard for Rangers. It is one that they are confident of passing. Ultimately, they have no choice but to if they are to keep their title ambitions on track.

“No. Not at all,” Dessers said when asked if he had any concerns about the Dens Park pitch. “We played there before this season when it was really wet as well and we won 5-0. I’m not saying that will happen again. The manager said it best when he said ‘I don’t care if we have to play in the car park, we have to win these games’. We know what it takes to win these games. There’s no talk in the changing room, we just want to go there and get a result.”