RANGERS were held by Dundee in the Scottish Premiership this afternoon at Dens Park despite the home side playing the bulk of the match with 10-men.
After falling behind to a Kenny Miller goal, Nathan Ralph was red carded and Andy Halliday equalised midway through the first half, but Gers couln’t find a way to goal against the club who started the day at the bottom of the table.
Following on from the disappointment of the 1-0 home loss to Aberdeen on Wednesday in the Scottish Premiership, boss Steven Gerrard made SIX changes to his side.
Alfredo Morelos missed out through suspension, while there were also no places in the first XI for Gareth McAuley, Jon Flanagan, Ovie Ejaria, Lassana Coulibaly and Glenn Middleton.
Into the team in their places came Joe Worrall and Andy Halliday in defence, Jordan Rossiter in midfield, while fit-again Ryan Kent and Eros Grezda won places to support Kyle Lafferty.
After a pretty tentative start, the game burst into life in the sixth minute. A ball over the top for Kyle Lafferty down the right channel from James Tavernier saw the big Ulsterman beat Genserix Kusunga in a footrace.
The angle for Lafferty was tight, and his shot across goal forced Jack Hamilton into a decent save, with the ball just spinning away for a corner before Ryan Kent could slide in to score.
From the resulting corner, Kent’s ball to the front post was flicked goalwards by Daniel Candeias, forcing Hamilton into another good stop to push the ball over the bar.
Then, the action swung to the other end with the home side grabbing a shock lead. Nathan Ralph’s long punt forward was misjudged by the Gers defence, and typically, there to pick up the scraps was Kenny Miller to poke beyond Allan McGregor.
The ball over the top for Lafferty to race Kusunga was played again by Gers, this time by Andy Halliday, but this time the striker’s effort on goal was wide of the far post.
Red cards both for and against Rangers have been a real feature of recent matches, and this time, one went for Gers with Ralph dismissed for the home side.
A neat move from Kent saw him feed Daniel Candeias on the edge of the box, and as he looked to jink his way into the box, he was hacked down by a dangerous Ralph tackle.
Referee Muir, after some deliberation, showed the full-back a straight red and awarded Gers a free-kick, with Andy Halliday placing the ball almost on the 18-yard line.
After a further delay as Ralph exited the field, Halliday blasted the ball goalwards and wonderfully found the top corner to bring Gerrard’s men level.
It was a terrific strike for the full-back’s first goal of the season, although Gers had McGregor to thank for keeping the scores level almost straight after the restart as he saved at the feet of Miller following another mix-up in defence.
The flag of the far-side assistant then denied the visitors a leveller, with Lafferty adjudged to be offside as he tapped-home a Ryan Kent cross, TV replays, however, showed the striker to have kept his line well.
At the start of the second half, Gers had a penalty claim turned down when a Grezda effort hit the hand of Andrew Boyle in the box.
The introduction of Borna Barisic on the left gave Gers a new option in attack, and only a fine block on the line from Martin Woods prevented James Tavernier from scoring a header in the six-yard box from the Croatian’s cross.
Ryan Jack then forced Hamilton into action with a curling effort from the edge of the box on the end of a Candeias cross, but that was to be as good as it got for Gers in the second half as they failed to find the winning goal.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Worrall, Goldson, Halliday (Ejaria, 69); Jack, Rossiter (Barisic, 57); Kent (Middleton, 45), Candeias, Grezda; Lafferty.
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, McCrorie, Katic, Coulibaly.
DUNDEE: Hamilton, Kerr, Ralph, Woods (Spence, 85), Kusunga, Kamara, Miller, McGowan, Miller (Kallman, 76) Boyle, Curran.
SUBS NOT USED: Parish, Nabi, Inniss, Moore, Lambert.
REFEREE: Alan Muir