With Hibs drawing at home to Kilmarnock, Rangers just need one more win to ensure qualification to next season’s Champions League and it will be all the sweeter if it comes against their oldest rivals at Ibrox.
It was hard to imagine that Dundee had posed so many problems to Rangers this season as Ivano Bonetti’s side was dead and buried after just 27 minutes as Rangers romped to a three-goal lead.
Goals from Rod Wallace, Tore Andre Flo and Jorg Albertz had the Ibrox men in a comfort zone within the first half hour although if Dundee had had some composure in their opponents’ box it could have been a different story.
It was poor defending by Steven Tweed which allowed Rangers to take the lead in four minutes and Wallace was not about to pass up the gift.
Bert Konterman’s ball forward seemed innocuous but Tweed failed to deal with it and Wallace pounced to measure a right foot shot past Jamie Langfield from just inside the box.
It was the little Englishman’s first goal this year and it set Rangers on their way, although Dundee should have equalised in eight minutes.
Talented Georgian Georgi Nemsadze burst into the Rangers box with some ease, leaving Konterman in his wake, and really should have done better than shoot straight at Stefan Klos.
It was a let-off for Rangers and they took full advantage by punishing Dundee again for another defensive lapse in 16 minutes to take a two-goal lead.
Chris Coyne was caught in possession by Tore Andre Flo and suddenly Dundee were in real trouble. The towering Norwegian still had some work to do but he made it look easy.
Flo skipped past Tweed and then slipped a sweet left foot shot past Langfield to claim his 11th goal in 18 games. It’s hard to imagine the criticism he has received with a strike rate like that.
Back came Dundee, though, and they should have scored again in 20 minutes but for the second time they wasted an excellent opportunity. The Rangers defence was completely fooled as Beto Carranza dummied Steven Milne’s cross allowing Juan Sara a clear shot at Klos.
The Argentinian striker, who missed two penalties on the last meeting at Dens, was similarly inept as he shot weakly at the Rangers keeper.
Dundee were to pay a heavy price as Rangers scorched to a three-goal in 27 minutes, returning midfielder, Jorg Albertz claiming it with a trademark Hammer blow.
Billy Dodds started the move with a cross from the right. Flo headed the ball down and Wallace rolled it back for Albertz who slammed a left foot shot past Langfield from fully 25 yards.
Again Dundee could have retaliated almost immediately but fluffed another great chance. As Carranza broke there was a three against one situation and why Dundee did not score is a mystery.
Firstly Sara made a mess of controlling Carranza’s pass then Milne shot woefully weakly at Klos allowing the German to make a far easier save than he might have expected.
Bonetti should have known then that there would be no way back there and then but his side kept battling away. Their ineptitude in front of goal continued, as Sara aimed a header wide in 55 minutes when he had time to place it virtually anywhere in the net.
There was a reduction in the pace and power of Rangers’ play which was understandable given their advantage, although they still looked capable of scoring more goals.
Wallace should have done better with Ricksen’s cross in 58 minutes but headed over the top while Ricksen forced a decent save from Langfield in 63 minutes after Albertz had played him in.
In between times Klos was forced to make a very good save from Gavin Rae’s powerful right foot drive but that was about as close as Dundee came.
Dick Advocaat was able to introduce Fabrice Fernandes, Tugay and Kenny Miller to give them a run, allowing him to rest Barry Ferguson, Flo and Dodds with the final Old Firm game coming up next Sunday.
DUNDEE: Langfield; Khizanishvili, Coyne (del Rio 59), Tweed, Garrido; Artero (Romano 45), Nemsadze, Rae, Carranza; Milne (Caballero 53), Sara. Subs not used – Roccati, Robertson.
RANGERS: Klos; Wilson, Konterman. Amoruso; Ricksen, Ferguson (Tugay 68), Wallace, Albertz, Numan; Flo (Miller 80), Dodds (Fernandes 60). Subs not used – Chrisiansen, Porrini.
Ref: Wille Young.
Man of the match: Jorg Albertz
Moment of the match: The clinical way in which Flo finished the second goal.