Rangers’ Premiership title hopes dented again by goalless draw at Dundee

Estimated read time 3 min read

Rangers’ regression continued with a goalless draw at Dundee, which further dented their increasingly fragile title hopes.

Philippe Clement’ side lost for the first time ever against Ross County on Sunday in their poorest performance since the Belgian took charge last October, and he was looking for a reaction at Dens Park. But in a game played at the third time of asking after the pitch was twice ruled unplayable, there was no improvement.

Rangers’ fans urged their team on, but they lacked imagination and guile, and the players again heard boos at the end of a goalless contest.

With five post-split matches remaining, including a trip to Celtic Park, Rangers now find themselves three points behind the Premiership champions having played the same number of games. They will now prepare for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park on Sunday with newly acquired trepidation.

Dundee, meanwhile, fully deserved their point and are now two points behind fifth-placed St Mirren.

Dujon Sterling, Tom Lawrence and Kemar Roofe returned to the Rangers side, with Roofe making his first start since 20 December as Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell and Cyriel Dessers dropped to the bench. Ricki Lamie, Owen Dodgson and Malachi Boateng were back for the hosts, who came close to scoring within a minute when Boateng’s low drive just escaped Jack Butland’s right-hand post.

Dundee’s captain, Joe Shaughnessy, limped off after 10 minutes to be replaced by Antonio Portales before Abdallah Sima outstripped the home defence. But his low shot was blocked by the foot of Jon McCracken, the Dundee keeper saving another effort from the Brighton loanee moments later.

In the 22nd minute Butland parried a Luke McCowan free-kick from 25 yards and Scott Tiffoney got to the rebound first to help it on to Amadou Bakayoko, who knocked it over the line from a yard out. However, the offside flag went up.

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Rangers toiled, threatening only occasionally. McCracken pushed a curling free-kick from James Tavernier around the post, then saved a Connor Goldson header from the resultant corner, but it was the more composed and fluid home side who were applauded off at the break.

Rangers stepped up the tempo at the start of the second half but a spark of creativity was absent and Dundee’s defending was organised. McCracken pulled off a fine save from Dessers’ curling shot and also held a tame Tavernier header. It was mainly huff and puff from a team that have suffered a dip in form at the wrong time of the season.

Source: theguardian.com

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