RANGERS produced a strong performance this afternoon to sweep aside Neil McCann’s Dundee at Ibrox.
Alfredo Morelos was on the scoresheet twice while Josh Windass fired in his first league goal for Gers and Carlos Pena opened his account for the club.
It was Armed Forces Day at Ibrox, and always, it was a very special occasion with two members of the RAF abseiling from the top of the Sandy Jardine Stand to deliver the match ball to referee Andrew Dallas.
Starting the game on the front foot is a key message Pedro Caixinha tries to get across to his players, and they certainly did that here, taking almost total ownership of the ball and playing some excellent football in the process.
In close to a carbon-copy of the goal he scored against Hibernian last month, Alfredo Morelos had the first opportunity of the game, meeting a Daniel Candieas free-kick from the right wing, though this time the Columbian sent his header over the bar.
Seconds later, a surging run from Ryan Jack from midfield to the edge of the box saw him play-in Kenny Miller, but his touch was heavy allowing the Dundee defence to come and clear.
Gers next chance then came from a superb piece of vision from Wes Foderingham. Catching a Scott Allan free-kick in the six-yard box, he played the ball straight to Daniel Candeias who was stationed on the halfway line.
The Portuguese got away superbly from Glen Kamara and delivered an excellent ball to the back post for Niko Kranjcar who had made up the yards, but there to deny him was goalkeeper Scott Bain with a superb save at point-blank range.
Kranjcar was again foiled by Bain soon after when the goalkeeper spilled an initial Kenny Miller effort before making amends to stop a low drive from the Croatian.
The chances kept coming for Gers, but the opening goal remained elusive. After a mix-up in the Dundee defence, Kranjcar played a ball through the middle for Morelos who was forced wide, and from an extremely tight angle, could only find the side netting with his shot.
Five minutes before half-time, El Bufalo and Rangers finally got their reward – and it all came from a sensational piece of skill from Daniel Candieas.
Stationed on the edge of the box, Candeias took a pass too feet from Kenny Miller and backheeled it into the path of Morelos who had made a run into the area. The Columbian made no mistake with his finish, firing low to Bain’s left for his sixth goal in five matches for the Light Blues.
The second half began with something we hadn’t seen at all in the first – a chance for Dundee.
Substitute A-Jay Leitch Smith – who had replaced Scott Allan in the first half – got to the bye-line and cut the ball back for Roarie Deacon in the middle, but he could head only wide of Foderingham’s right-hand post when under little pressure.
Normal service was soon resumed however, with Kenny Miller twice firing into the arms of Bain from good positions before Candeias skinned Kerr Waddell on the edge of the box and brought out another fine save from Bain, who had to be at full stretch to tip the ball away.
Pedro Caixinha then replaced Miller with Carlos Pena on 63 minutes, and the Mexican came close to scoring with his first touch, heading a Josh Windass cross into the arms of Bain once more.
Neil McCann’s side were more of a threat in the second half, and they came
The game, seemingly, was put to bed in the 69th minute as Josh Windass grabbed his first league goal for Rangers.
Once again, Daniel Candeias was the provider, sending in a stunning ball for the Englishman, and he met is superbly, heading into the top corner from 10-yards out to give Bain no chance.
From then on, it seemed as if the only story would be Gers adding to their lead.
Carlos Pena came close top opening his Rangers account, shooting over from 20-yards out while Candeias tried to add a goal to his superb performance, shooting just wide again from distance.
Pena then did get in on the act in the 83rd minute, but he owed his goal to some superb play from Windass. After bursting to the line, he cut the ball back for Pena who was unmarked in the middle, and he had the simple task of firing into the back of the net.
It then got even better for Gers two minutes later, as once again Alfredo Morelos netted. James Tavernier played him in down the right channel of the box, and from almost the bye-line, he fired for goal.
The power in his shot was such that Bain simply couldn’t keep it out, with the Columbian adding yet another goal to his already impressive tally so far this season.
There was one blot on the copybook for Gers though, as in the final minute of normal time, Dundee pulled one back.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui skipped his way through the Rangers defence and fired into the bottom corner, well beyond the reach of Foderingham.
In the end, it was to matter little for Rangers as they sealed their biggest league win of the season so far, with a very impressive performance also in the bag.
RANGERS: Foderingham; Tavernier, Cardoso, Alves, Wallace; Candeias (Nemane, 87), Jack, Dorrans, Kranjcar (Windass, 54); Miller (Pena, 63), Morelos.
SUBS: Alnwick, McCrorie, Herrera, Rossiter.
DUNDEE: Bain, Kerr, Holt, Kamara (McGowan, 78) Moussa, El Bakhtaoui, Deacon (Wolters. 69), Hendry, Spence, Waddell.
SUBS: Parish, O’Dea, Leitch-Smith (Allan, 38) O’Hara, Aurtenexte.
REFEREE: Mr Andrew Dallas
ATTENDANCE: 49, 164