Dundee fell to a 4-1 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon. Alfredo Morelos put Rangers ahead late in the first half. Josh Windass added a second midway through the second half and in the last few minutes ran in further goals from Carlos Pena and Morelos. Faissal El Bakhatoui’s fine late goal provided little consolation for the Dee on a tough afternoon for the young Dee side.
The Dark Blues made two changes from the draw against Hibs. Lewis Spence came in for his Premiership debut and Sofien Moussa returned from injury. Paul McGowan was on the bench and James Vincent out of the squad. Rangers were unchanged.
Rangers placed Dundee under heavy pressure in the first 10 minutes during which they won a string of corners. Alfredo Morelos headed over from a free kick, and Scott Bain used his legs to save well from Nico Kranjcar’s volley at the end of a fast Rangers break.
For a while Dundee managed to stem the flow of traffic towards Bain’s goal, but their visits into the home half were fleeting affairs. Although Rangers were on top their midfield and defence had the occasional moment of complacency. Dundee couldn’t take advantage of any of these slip ups. The Dee’s most promising attack of the first half ended with Faissal El Bakhtoui putting too much weight on a pass that would have sent Roarie Deacon clear.
Dundee’s defence held firm when the pressure resumed. Cammy Kerr put in a great block to deny Kranjcar after Bain had beaten away Daniel Candeias’s cross shot. When Morelos could only shoot into the side netting after dragging the ball wide of Bain it looked as if the Dark Blues could reach the break on level terms. However, five minutes before half time Rangers got the goal their pressure deserved. MORELOS played a one-two with Kranjcar before leaving Bain helpless from eight yards.
Shortly before the goal Neil McCann made a surprise substitution, sending on A-Jay Leitch-Smith for Scott Allan, who had been carrying an injury and wasn’t 100%.
Dundee started the second half on the front foot and came close to a goal after 20 seconds. Leitch-Smith spun neatly on the byline to cross for Roarie Deacon, whose header drifted past the post with Wes Foderingham beaten.
The promising spell from the Dark Blues lasted only a few minutes and Rangers should have scored a second when they broke from a Dee corner. They had three players attacking one defender, but Morelos sent his pass straight to the relieved Cammy Kerr.
Rangers had been impressive in attack in the first half and more casual further back, but this was reversed for most of the second half. The home defence took no chances and the midfield tightened up, ensuring Dundee had to graft their way up the park, a task that was usually beyond them. Rangers continued to fritter away a series of promising attacks that could have put the game well beyond Dundee long before the end.
Kenny Miller wasted a particularly good chance, shooting straight at Bain when Morelos teed him up with a free shot from 12 yards. Bain then did well to touch away a curling effort from Candeias and had to save from substitute Carlos Pena’s header after the other Rangers substitute Josh Windass was sent clear to the byline by Lee Wallace.
The Dark Blues came close to a surprise equaliser when Sofien Moussa’s lunge was fractionally too late to turn in Jack Hendry’s header from a corner. Within a couple of minutes Rangers had scored their second goal and the game looked over as a contest. Candeias’s cross from the right found the Dundee defence out of position and WINDASS directed a simple header past Bain from 10 yards.
Rangers continued to push forward and waste promising opportunities, but finally put their attacking game together in the last few minutes. Windass again reached the byline and his low cross was thumped high into the net by PENA. Two minutes later a neat change of pace and direction took MORELOS to the byline where he blasted the ball at Scott Bain, waiting by the near post. The ball flew off the Dee keeper and into the roof of the net.
Dundee raised themselves for some late attacks and Faissal EL BAKHTAOUI scored a well taken goal, picking up the ball outside the penalty area, making space and scoring with a fine low shot across Foderingham.
This might be valuable experience for the young players in Dundee’s team, but the Dark Blues were second best today and well beaten in the end. The young defence did well for long spells, but eventually buckled under the relentless pressure. Further forward Dundee offered little threat and couldn’t make anything of the few opportunities that came their way. The scoreline gave a fair reflection of the game.*
Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves, Wallace
Candeias (Nemane 86), Jack, Dorrans, Kranjcar (Windass 53)
Miller (Pena 63), Morelos
Unused subs: Alnwick (gk), Wilson, Herrera, Rossiter.
Goals: Morelos (40, 85), Windass (68), Pena (83).
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Kerr (c), Hendry, Waddell, Holt
Spence, Kamara (McGowan 78)
Deacon (Wolters 69), El Bakhtaoui, Allan (Leitch-Smith 37)
Unused subs: Parish (gk), O’Dea, O’Hara, Aurtenetxe.
Goal: El Bakhtaoui (88).
Booked: Holt, Waddell.
Referee: Andrew Dallas. Assistants: Graeme Stewart, Alan Mulvanny. Fourth official: David Lowe.
Report: James Christie.