SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown heaped praise on his ‘special talent’ Nile Ranger after the striker inspired the Shrimpers to a 2-0 win at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

Ranger’s fourth goal in five games - which is the best scoring run of his career - helped Blues secure a third successive victory.

And Brown will now be doing all he can to keep the controversial striker - who missed four matches for a serious breach of discipline in January - under control.

“It’s been a long road and a hard slog where Nile is concerned, there have been barriers to get over and at the moment we’re doing that,” said Brown.

“We just need to keep him on the straight and narrow which is easier said than done but he has to realise he’s part of a team.

“When he lets himself down he lets his team down.

“He’s a rare breed and you don’t deal with him the same way you do everyone else.

“However, he has to realise there are rules and regulations which fingers crossed he’s adhering to at the moment.”

And Brown has also found a unique way to keep Ranger under control.

“I go out for a drink with him and that’s the only way you can do it,” said Brown.

“But the changing room we have here has stood by him which is important and he’s now repaying that faith they’ve put in him.

“If he breaks that then the changing room will oust him.

“But he’s capable of taking us to the next level and he’s shown that again here.

“He takes us into the final third and keeps us there which is hugely important at this level and if we keep him fit and focused then we’re in with a real chance.

Ranger fired Blues in front with an excellent individual effort at Kingsmeadow.

And Brown felt it was unlikely a better goal had been scored anywhere else in country at the weekend.

“Nile’s goal was out of the top drawer, I doubt there was a better goal scored in any of the leagues, especially in those conditions, on Saturday and it makes you realise how much of a special talent the player is,” said Brown.

“Nile is really grasping the nettle now.

“He’s working his socks off for the team and he’s getting his reward which is great to see.”

Ranger was joined on the score-sheet by his strike-partner Simon Cox against the Dons to ensure Blues stayed sixth in the League One standings three points clear of seventh placed Millwall.