A Dundee side brimming with confidence, as a result of their 4-0 battering of Hamilton Academical, took on a Rangers team seemingly bereft of it following their 1-0 defeat at Ibrox at the hands of Aberdeen.
Jim McIntyre made just the one change, Andy Boyle coming into defence to replace the injured Darren O’Dea. Kenny Miller would start up front as a result of his hat trick against Accies, how would he fare against one of his former clubs?
Steven Gerrard made six changes after his team were beaten in their own back yard, a rarity under him it has to be said. Gareth McAuley and Jon Flanagan were replaced in defence by Joe Worrall and Andy Halliday. Ryan Kent, Jordan Rossiter and Eros Grezda came in to support Kyle Lafferty in attack. They replaced Lassana Coulibaly, Ovie Ejaria, Glenn Middleton and the suspended Alfredo Morelos.
Kyle Lafferty, looking to make the most of his opportunity, was sent through by James Tavernier early on. After outpacing Genseric Kusunga, he was looking to strike across Jack Hamilton, the Northern Irishman denied by the keeper with Grezda unable to latch onto any potential rebound following Cammy Kerr’s clearance.
Nathan Ralph would then try and find former Gers frontman Kenny Miller with a ball over the top. The 38 year old isn’t slow by any means and remains fit as a fiddle, a CV containing 116 goals for Rangers in 298 appearances for the Light Blues, he was able to put the Dark Blues ahead here.
The striker got in behind Joe Worrall and Connor Goldson failed to deal with the long pass correctly. The centre half allowed the ball to run across him with Miller able to prod past McGregor with his right foot. Scoring for the fourth consecutive game on the trot he persisted as Dundee were ahead with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
He’s Andy from set pieces
Ryan Kent, back in the side, was looking to create for Rangers. After he slid inside to Daniel Candeias, the Portuguese winger was met by a reckless challenge from Nathan Ralph on the edge of the area. The left back sent off, for denying a goalscoring opportunity despite Boyle still being in the box, and presented Rangers with a great opportunity to equalise.
They would take up that offer. Andy Halliday smashed his effort into the top left hand corner. No chance for Jack Hamilton, the travelling fans behind the goal left ecstatic, as the Gers had a great chance for all three points following their equaliser and numerical advantage.
It’s the midfielder’s first goal in over two years. His last coming in a 3-0 victory at Ibrox in October 2016 against Kilmarnock, in which the former Bradford City man put the Gers two ahead from 12 yards.
Kenny Miller would have another chance in order for Dundee to retake the lead. Jesse Curran crossed to look for the striker, and following a mix up involving Worrall and McGregor and as a result of a heavy Tavernier touch, found him. Allan McGregor saving with his feet to deny his former teammate.
Then Rangers thought that they had taken the lead for the first time in the match. Tavernier found Kent down the right hand side who crossed for Lafferty to stab home from close range. However, the frontman was to be wrongly denied by the official’s offside flag.
Replays show that Lafferty was in fact behind the man playing the ball, in this case Ryan Kent. After a few weeks where controversial refereeing decisions have been at the heart of the Scottish game, the officials certainly weren’t covering themselves in glory here.
Dundee dig in to deny Rangers
Rangers should’ve been ahead prior to half time. They felt they should have had a penalty at the start of the second period following Andy Boyle’s handball. Chipped up by Grezda, it appears as though the defender made contact. It would have been harsh, with no real intent. No penalty this time.
Lafferty evaded Calvin Miller before shipping out wide towards Daniel Candeias. The winger attempted to feed back to the striker but as it came out to Ejaria, Dundee scrambled away but only as far as Ryan Jack who sent a curling effort goalward but it proved a routine stop for Hamilton.
Fair play to Dundee, the ten men dug in for what could prove to be a valuable point come the end of the season. After moving off bottom spot and into the relegation playoff place, they next travel to play high-flying Kilmarnock in Ayrshire.
As for Rangers, a massive opportunity missed. Their last two results will hardly galvanize the fans, one point from a potential six in their last two doesn’t make for good reading. They travel to Vienna for their final Europa League group stage match before hosting Hamilton at the weekend.