Rangers will take a slender one-goal advantage into the return leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie after edging past 10-man Servette with a much-improved performance at Ibrox.
Michael Beale’s side were determined to bounce back from a surprise defeat to Kilmarnock on the opening day of the Scottish Premiership campaign and captain James Tavernier set them on course for victory after calmly dispatching an early fifth minute penalty.
Nigerian striker Cyriel Dessers bundled home from close range to celebrate his first goal for the club shortly after in what was an ideal start for the hosts to calm any nerves among supporters inside the stadium.
The depleted Swiss outfit - missing several key players through a mixture of injury and suspension - were handed a lifeline against the run of play just before the break when Dessers’ was penalised for handball, which allowed Chris Bedia to rifle home a spot-kick.
However, Rangers were the better side throughout but frustratingly weren’t able to turn their dominance into more goals, with the final pass often letting them down during numerous breakaway opportunities. Beale’s players were wasteful in the second half as they looked to effectively kill the tie, with Sam Lammers denied on more than one occasion by inspired visiting keeper Joël Mall.
Servette ended the match with ten men after midfielder David Douline was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence just shy of the hour mark. But they retain a glimmer of hope heading into the second leg in Geneva next Tuesday, with work still to do for the Scottish giants.
Here’s our post-match Rangers player ratings:
Unused subs: Robby McCrorie (GK), Kieran Wright (GK), Dujon Sterling, Leon Balogun, Leon King, Adam Devine.