GOALS from Kenny Miller, Alfredo Morelos, Jamie Murphy and man of the match Daniel Candeias helped Rangers return to winning ways in front of a packed Ibrox Stadium today.
After two defeats and a draw in the Ladbrokes Premiership the pressure was on Graeme Murty’s men to claim all three points against a hard-working Dundee side attempting to climb away from the relegation zone.
In the end though, the Light Blues thoroughly deserved this convincing victory with Miller leading the way with a terrific strike to open the scoring before half-time.
Morelos then made it 2-0 on 68 minutes when he got on the end a perfect assist from Candeias before Murphy added a third after El Bufalo did well to steal the ball from the Dundee defence.
Candeias then added a fourth at the death when he fired the ball into the roof from Graham Dorrans’ intelligent cross.
After a minute of silence for former Rangers midfielder Ray Wilkins it was the home side that started the match brightly with Murphy seeing a lot of the ball in the early stages.
However, it was Dundee who had the first shot on target but Roarie Deacon’s powerful shot from 20 yards was straight at Wes Foderingham who held it well.
In the next attack Miller came within inches of opening scoring after he hit Elliot Parish’s near post from a Candeias delivery.
That had the Ibrox faithful off their seats and the Light Blues again came close to finding the net when a deep cross from the left dipped onto Parish’s cross bar before being cleared.
On the half-hour mark the game remained goalless but Morelos tried to change that when he shot wide after skillful play from Miller kept an attack alive.
The same pair combined moments later with Miller threading a pass through to the Colombian, but Generic Kusunga was there to make a brilliant last-ditch tackle.
It was better from Rangers but on 33 minutes a poor challenge from McCrorie on Deacon meant the youngster picked up the first booking of the game and presented Dundee with a free-kick situation.
Thankfully, Mark O’Hara blazed his free-kick over the bar and into the supporters in the Copland Stand.
When Sofien Moussa intelligently cut inside McCrorie and also shot over the fans in red, white and blue voiced their concerns. But any frustrations they had soon turned into joy when Miller his side in front after 40 minutes.
Murphy did well to skip past several challenges as he moved across the pitch and when he found Miller in space he sent an accurate shot across Parish and into the far corner.
It was a terrific strike from the 38-year-old who clearly enjoyed getting his first goal since October 28 when his deadly double helped Gers beat Hearts at Murrayfield.
Rangers went into the second period looking to double their advantage quickly and a misplaced clearance from Deacon fell to Miller who shot wide on the volley with the ball coming to him quickly.
It was end-to-end football for the packed Ibrox to take in and next to attack were the visitors, with Glen Kamara feeding the ball to Murray but he couldn’t beat Foderingham at his front post.
Rangers were next to push forward with intent when a loose pass upfield from Kevin Holt went straight to Tavernier who sent Candeias racing forward on the right wing in a two v one situation, with Miller free on the left.
The Portuguese winger had options but elected to shoot and his effort went through Holt’s legs before hitting the far post. The ball came back out to Miller who will have been disappointed to miss the target.
On the hour mark Murty made his first change to his side with Andy Halliday replacing Greg Docherty and just five minutes later Bruno Alves went on for the injured Ross McCrorie.
Within a minute the Portuguese defender had put his name in the ref’s notebook for a scissors challenge on Craig Wighton and from the free-kick that followed Simon Murray clipped the roof of the net with a curling effort from 20 yards.
That was to be a pivotal moment in the game because on 68 minutes Rangers doubled their lead through Morelos.
Candeias was the provider with a terrific low cross and El Bufalo made it look easy as he rolled the ball in for his 18th goal of the campaign.
The scoring wasn’t finished there though and when Morelos stole the ball from the Dundee defence and played in Murphy, the Rangers fans knew there would only be one outcome as the playmaker composed himself and then slotted it effortlessly beyond the helpless Parish.
With 90 minutes on the clock Candeias got the goal his overall play deserved to make it 4-0. With Dundee pushing men forward he received a cross from Dorrans, cut inside his marker and unleashed a powerful shot high into the net.
RANGERS (4-2-3-1): Foderingham; Tavernier, McCrorie (Alves 65), Martin, John; Docherty (Halliday 61), Dorrans; Candeias, Miller (Goss 78), Murphy; Morelos
SUBS NOT USED: Alnwick, Hodson, Cummings, O’Halloran
GOALS: Miller (40), Morelos (68), Murphy (79), Candeias (90)
BOOKINGS: McCrorie, Alves, Morelos
DUNDEE (3-4-1-2): Parish (Ferrie 85); Meekings, Kusunga, Caulker; O’Hara, Kamara, Spence (Wighton 58), O’Hara; Deacon; Moussa (Leitch-Smith 75), Murray
SUBS NOT USED: Kerr, Aurtenetxe, Wolters, Scott
BOOKINGS: Kusunga, Moussa
REF: Greg Aitken