The Dark Blues went down to a 4-0 defeat against Rangers at Ibrox in the last match before the split. Kenny Miller put Rangers ahead seven minutes before half time and Alfredo Morelos added a second midway through the second half. As Dundee chased the game in vain Rangers found the space to score two late goals from Jamie Murphy and Daniel Candeias.
Dundee’s only change from Wednesday’s draw at Parkhead was Sofien Moussa replacing the injured Paul McGowan. Rangers brought in Ross McRorie and Kenny Miller, who came in for Bruno Alves and Josh Windass.
The first half was notable for its scrappiness. Both teams gave the ball away far too often. Rangers were particularly guilty, sending passes repeatedly to Dundee players especially in their own half. Dundee couldn’t capitalise on Rangers’ errors and although they were more composed on the ball they created less danger.
Roarie Deacon had the game’s first shot at the end of a neat passing move, but his shot from 22 yards was straight at Foderingham. Rangers raced up the park and Kenny Miller shot against the post from Daniel Candeias’s cross.
That set the pattern for the first half. The home side were determined to keep the ball moving quickly through the midfield. Although this led to plenty of mistakes it also succeeded in finding Rangers players racing into space and putting the Dundee defence under pressure.
The Dark Blues had another escape when Declan John’s cross from the left of the penalty area drifted over Elliott Parish and came back off the crossbar.
Miller chased a long ball into the Dundee penalty area and sent his cross over Parish into a deserted goalmouth allowing Genseric Kusunga to clear before the supporting Rangers attackers arrived on the scene. Within a minute Kusunga cleared again, tackling Alfredo Morelos as he was on the point of shooting.
The Dark Blues’ best effort of the first half came when Sofien Moussa took Roarie Deacon’s pass, checked inside Russell Martin to make space for a clear chance, and drilled his finish over the crossbar from 15 yards. It was a costly miss because Rangers took the lead three minutes later.
Jamie Murphy set up the goal, pulling the Dee defence out of position with a persistent run across the edge of the penalty. He rolled his pass into the path of Kenny MILLER, who scored with a beautifully struck shot across Parish.
The second half almost got off to a dreadful start when Deacon sent a misjudged defensive header straight to the surprised Miller, whose volley only just missed the target.
Although the Dark Blues were still well in contention and making chances, they failed to pose serious problems for Wes Foderingham in the home goal. Simon Murray ran onto Glen Kamara’s pass, but took the ball too far wide and Foderingham blocked his angled shot.
Dundee had another escape when Rangers broke quickly and Candeias shot against the post with Miller missing from the rebound. Morelos also went close with a header that was deflected past the post.
Sofien Moussa again blazed a chance over the crossbar after making space skillfully on the edge as Dundee continued to probe. Just before the hour Craig Wighton came on for Lewis Spence. His promising run at the Rangers defence was ended a couple of yards outside the penalty area by a shocking challenge from substitute Bruno Alves. Happily no damage was done and Simon Murray took the free kick, sending it inches over the crossbar.
Within a minute Rangers were 2-0 ahead. The tiring Dee midfield was pulled out of position, allowing Candeias time and space to send over a perfect low cross that took out Parish and the central defenders, allowing MORELOS a simple finish at the far post.
The Dee kept pluggina away and Moussa was first to a Deacon free kick wide on the right, but misdirected his header backwards to Murray, whose fierce shot was charged down.
With 12 minutes left Rangers scored the goal that killed off Dundee. Rangers defence hadn’t looked entirely comfortable and if the Dark Blues had pulled the game back to 2-1 there would have been hope. Sadly Rangers’ goal came from a mix-up as the Dee tried to play out from the back. Parish’s throw took Kusunga by surprise and he lost the ball to Morelos, who set up Jamie MURPHY for an easy finish.
At 3-0 Dundee looked drained after their three tough games this week. The Dark Blues’ problems continued as Elliott Parish was forced out of the match after challenging Morelos for a through ball. He dived at Morelos’s feet and with the home fans screaming for a penalty the referee gave a free kick against Morelos for instigating the contact, catching Parish in the face with his boot.
Calum Ferrie came on and had no chance when the Dee’s back line was opened up again as Graeme Dorrans ran clear. He drew Ferrie and rolled the ball across for CANDEIAS to score.
Deep into injury time Ferrie pulled off a good save to touch Dorrans’ fierce shot over the crossbar.
For over an hour Dundee were competitive today, but when the second goal went in the Dark Blues started to tire and with an attacking formation designed to pull them back into the game they struggled to contain Rangers in midfield. The players have put in two fine performances this week and a second tough trip to one of the Glasgow giants in three days proved too much.
Tavernier (c), Martin, McRorie (Alves 64), John
Candeias, Docherty (Halliday 61), Dorrans, Murphy
Miller (Goss 77))
Unused subs: Alnwick (gk), Hodson, Cummings, O’Halloran.
Goals: Miller (37), Morelos (68), Murphy (78), Candeias (90).
Booked: McRorie (foul on Deacon), Alves (foul on Wighton), Morelos (foul on Parish).
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
Parish (Ferrie 84)
Caulker (c), Meekings, Kusunga
O’Hara, Kamara, Spence (Wighton 57), Holt
Moussa (Leitch-Smith 74), Murray
Unused subs: Kerr, Aurtenetxe, Wolters, Scott.
Booked: Kusunga (foul on Docherty), Moussa (foul on Foderingham).
Referee: Greg Aitken. Assistants: Gary Hilland, Willie Conquer. 4th official: Kevin Graham.
Report: James Christie.