Cyriel Dessers on the hard Rangers lesson fans have taught him before admitting 'it’s not been easy'

As the flak flew outside, Cyriel Dessers made the mistake of letting the groans in Govan get inside his head.

But having slotted the crucial brace that opened the door to the Scottish Cup final, the Rangers hitman insists he’s learned the importance of shutting out the negativity and noise that could threaten the Light Blues’ fragile resurgence. Damaging slip-ups against Ross County and Dundee have left Gers’ title dreams hanging by a thread. But they will have at least one more shot at silverware this season after Dessers’ double sank Hearts to tee up a final shootout with Celtic on May 25.

It’s a result that has provided a much-needed shot of self-belief into an Ibrox squad running worryingly short on confidence just as the Premiership finishing line begins to creep over the horizon. It’s the kind of position Gers have faced before this season.

Cyriel Dessers celebrates his second goal -Credit:SNS Group
Cyriel Dessers celebrates his second goal -Credit:SNS Group

Distracted Dessers took the brunt of it as the misfiring frontman was largely held responsible for a shocking start to the season that saw Michael Beale’s team fall seven points adrift of Celtic just seven games into the season. The jeers that followed him round Ibrox were hard to shake but finally relented as new boss Clement led this side on a remarkable recovery.

But they’ve returned this week after Rangers allowed all their hard work to go to waste in Dingwall and at Dens. This time, however, Dessers has realised the importance of keeping his eyes open and ears shut.

He said: “At the start I think it got to me. That’s something I learned from as well. Now I have everything in line, in my head as well. When there’s noise now I can shut it out and I think that’s what we all need to do over the next few weeks.

“It’s not been easy, it’s not the first time this season either. But after a difficult week or result we always bounce back and we did so again against Hearts.

“Obviously, all eyes in the country were on us and what we were going to do after the last two results. But if you can show this character, at Hampden, in a semi-final, against a good team then I think that says a lot about this team.

“It doesn’t sound very positive if you say every time you win there’s relief. But you have to enjoy these moments, not only today but I think about the Benfica game.

“OK we lost and we were devastated we didn’t qualify. But when I came home I said these are the games I want to play in for Rangers. These are moments you want to enjoy. This is why we play football. But we know what we have to do next week.”

The £4.5million signing has had his fair share of dark days since joining Gers from Cremonese last summer. But he was able to satisfy a happy ending at Hampden after two slick finishes eased the Viaplay Cup winners into their second showpiece of the season.

However, asked if it was his most pleasing afternoon in a Rangers jersey, the 19-goal striker said: “If we win the final I can say that. For me personally it was an amazing day, to score the goals to take us to a cup final. It’s weird. You have to enjoy the afternoon and this feeling.

“But at the same time you are thinking about the future and what is next. I have to take my time, let this sink in and enjoy it.

“It’s obviously a very good feeling, I am delighted. We can take a lot of pride from this because Hearts are a very good team, they deserve to be third in the league.

“They gave us some difficulties, but I thought our defence and goalkeeper were amazing today. They kept a clean sheet and afterwards it’s up to us as attackers to score goals and finish this game.”

Dessers got the Ibrox men off to the perfect start as he gave Nathaniel Atkinson the slip before firing past Craig Gordon just five minutes in. He finally put the semi-final to bed 12 minutes from time as the finished off from Todd Cantwell’s surging run at the second attempt.

Cyriel Dessers celebrates his first goal -Credit:SNS Group
Cyriel Dessers celebrates his first goal -Credit:SNS Group

“The fast start was crucial,” he said. “We have to play that way, I think that’s our strength and our quality. I don’t know what the talk outside our training ground was. Inside, we were pretty calm and composed.

“We didn’t lose confidence because we have shown for months what we can do as a team. We have to find that rhythm.

“It’s important to close out the noise, even after a few months, or for a few guys a couple of years, we have the experience of that. You have to stay focused, in these weeks you have to block out the noise.

"It was a really weird game. You could see that at the end. But we got the job done. The first goal came at a good moment. We were pushing and scoring at that time gave us a big advantage for the rest of the game.

"When you're only 1-0 up, one free-kick or one corner kick and something can always happen. At 2-0, we gave ourselves more breathing space and it was a good moment again.

"It happened for me a few months ago. This was not my best game but look at our fans and this stadium - these are the games you want to play in.”

Now Dessers and his team-mates have one more huge date to add to their schedule this season as they set up the first Old Firm Scottish Cup final since 2002. He said: "I'm delighted. To go to a final with Rangers feels amazing.

"It will be a beautiful final - the Old Firm - and hopefully we can give our season a wonderful end. I'm so happy we got the job done. I helped with two goals and we want more and stay hungry. There is a new competition starting next weekend and we know what to do. We need to win all the games and we know that."