Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s winning start continues as Rangers see off Dundee
Giovanni van Bronckhorst made it four wins out of four as Rangers boss in a dominant 3-0 cinch Premiership win over Dundee at Ibrox.
Midfielder Joe Aribo’s deflected strike in the 36th minute gave the incessant home side a deserved interval lead and only sterling work by Dens Park keeper Adam Legzdins kept the Taysiders in the game.
However, visiting defender Ryan Sweeney put a cross from Aribo into his own goal in the 55th minute before striker Alfredo Morelos scored a third in the 70th minute of arguably Rangers’ best league performance of the season.
The league leaders moved seven points ahead of Celtic who get the chance to reduce the lead at Dundee United on Sunday.
Rangers, with Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala in for rested Ryan Kent and Steven Davis, took control from the start and did not relent.
Aribo’s nifty footwork at the edge of the Dundee box ended with Sakala snatching at a shot with the ball flying high and wide and then the striker screwed a shot wide of the far post.
The pressure was constant.
In the 24th minute Sakala’s powerful and more accurate drive was brilliantly pushed behind by Legzdins – the corner came to nothing – before the busy keeper made a decent save from left-back Borna Barisic and a better one from Connor Goldson.
However, the creaking Dundee rearguard was breached when Aribo let fly from the edge of the box with a low drive which ended up behind Legzdins after taking a touch off defender Liam Fontaine.
The champions kept pushing forward and three minutes from the break Legzdins denied Morelos from close range.
The Govan side began the second half with Arfield’s deflected shot rebounding off the post and Legzdins making more saves, from strikes by defender Calvin Bassey and Sakala.
On-loan Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was roundly booed when he took over from ex-Gers midfielder and Dundee skipper Charlie Adam before Sweeney, in trying to cut out a cross from Aribo, slid in to put the ball into his own net.
To the jeers of the home fans Griffiths was then booked by referee Alan Muir for a foul on Aribo with Morelos also taking a yellow for his part in the ensuing melee.
A mix-up in the Gers defence saw Paul McMullan get a shot away but it was pushed behind for a corner by keeper Allan McGregor which was defended before Dundee boss James McPake was shown a yellow card by referee Muir, presumably for dissent.
Before that Griffiths might have been lucky to avoid another yellow for his challenge on Bassey.
Morelos barged his way through the centre of Dundee’s defence to knock in number three, and the scoreline could have been even more emphatic had Christie Elliott not cleared away another goal-bound header from the Ibrox striker, albeit Griffiths cracked the post in added time with a shot.