Phillipe Clement continued his unbeaten start as Rangers manager with a dominant Scottish Premiership victory at Dundee in a game which started 45 minutes late and was then halted after flares were set off in the away end.
Traffic held up the Rangers team bus to delay kick off by 45 minutes, then two minutes into the match Rangers fans set off a sea of flares which engulfed Dens Park in smoke, setting off the fire alarm and forcing the players back off the pitch.
When play did resume 15 minutes later, Ryan Jack stabbed Rangers into an early lead after goalkeeper Trevor Carson spilled Danilo’s shot across his own goal.
Dundee kept themselves in touch for the rest of the half as Carson redeemed himself by denying Danilo from point-blank range, but the Brazilian striker would not be denied six minutes into the second half.
Neat passing by Scott Wright and Abdallah Sima teed him up to stroke in Rangers’ crucial second goal, and it was no surprise when third arrived.
Sam Lammers – who had gone 16 games without scoring – shifted the ball onto his left foot and smashed the ball into the net via the crossbar.
Then Cyriel Dessers finished well to add a controversial fourth, after referee Kevin Clancy appeared to accidentally impede Dundee midfielder Luke McCowan in the build up as he was about to receive the ball.
But the referee did not halt play and Rangers countered up the pitch, playing in Dessers who tucked the ball past Carson.
James Tavernier did likewise from the penalty spot after a VAR review spotted a foul by Lyall Cameron on the Rangers captain in the box.
That capped a powerful Rangers performance, and Clement’s side move back to five points behind leaders Celtic.
Player of the match – Danilo (Rangers)
Danilo warming to Scottish football – analysis
This was an encouraging attacking display from Rangers. Danilo, Wright, Sima, and Lammers combined neatly in tight areas, something former manager Michael Beale had tried, but failed, to foster.
Danilo in particular looks like he is warming to Scottish football after a slow start, showing sharp movement in the box and eventually finding a good finish as well.
Rangers would still like him to be more ruthless with his chances, in particular when one-on-one with the goalkeeper as he put two efforts straight at Carson, but that may come in time.
And Lammers’ wonder strike could be transformational for his confidence after a 16-game drought.
It is still early days for Clement but this was as incisive and dominant as Rangers have been this season.
As for Dundee, Carson’s error put them on the back foot immediately which is exactly what teams want to avoid against the Old Firm.
They managed to put some pressure on Rangers in flurries, with goalkeeper Jack Butland denying Amadou Bakayoko twice after he fashioned a free header and pounced on a rebound from McCowan’s shot.
The attitude was good and they kept going, but in the second half it became a struggle. Still, this is only their third league defeat and the others came against Celtic and third-place St Mirren.
It’s been a solid start to life back in the Premiership for Tony Docherty’s side, who sit ninth in a tightly packed table.
What they said
Dundee manager Tony Docherty: “I want to make sure that never happens again. I was really disappointed – if you’re losing 2-0, keep it 2-0 don’t lose three, four, or five.
“I can’t be too hard on the boys because they have been fantastic. We’ve had healthy home form and we’ve been competitive in every match. Tonight, things just ran away from us.”
Rangers manager Phillipe Clement: “If you score five goals and had a lot of other chances and you kept a clean sheet – although Jack [Butland] saved us a few times – then you can be happy.
“I was not so satisfied after the first half. We did ok, but our tempo was too low and we were not ambitious enough to make the second goal.
“I’m much more satisfied with the second half. And players came back from injury like Ryan Jack and Leon Balogun. Everybody is starting to understand more and more what we want to do together.”
Dundee face Livingston in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at Dens Park (14:00 GMT) while Rangers are at Hampden to play Hearts in the semi-final of the Viaplay Cup an hour later (15:00).
- 5ShaughnessyBooked at 24mins
- 12LamieSubstituted forRuddenat 45′minutesBooked at 76mins
- 28SyllaBooked at 19mins
- 7TiffoneySubstituted forKerrat 45′minutes
- 17McCowanSubstituted forCameronat 85′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 23BoatengSubstituted forHowleyat 72′minutes
- 9BakayokoSubstituted forPinedaat 79′minutes
- 27BalogunBooked at 21mins
- 8JackSubstituted forCifuentesat 76′minutes
- 23WrightSubstituted forMcCauslandat 85′minutes
- 14LammersSubstituted forDowellat 85′minutes
- 19SimaSubstituted forCantwellat 61′minutes
- 99Pereira da SilvaSubstituted forDessersat 77′minutes
- Kevin Clancy
Match ends, Dundee 0, Rangers 5.
Second Half ends, Dundee 0, Rangers 5.
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Ridvan Yilmaz.
Goal! Dundee 0, Rangers 5. James Tavernier (Rangers) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Lyall Cameron (Dundee) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
VAR Decision: Penalty Rangers.
Penalty Rangers. James Tavernier draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Lyall Cameron (Dundee) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt blocked. Cyriel Dessers (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Tavernier.
Substitution, Dundee. Lyall Cameron replaces Luke McCowan.
Substitution, Rangers. Kieran Dowell replaces Sam Lammers.
Substitution, Rangers. Ross McCausland replaces Scott Wright.
John Lundstram (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Luke McCowan (Dundee).
Goal! Dundee 0, Rangers 4. Cyriel Dessers (Rangers) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sam Lammers following a fast break.
Attempt saved. Sam Lammers (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt blocked. Cyriel Dessers (Rangers) right footed shot from very close range is blocked.
Sam Lammers (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Cammy Kerr (Dundee).
Substitution, Dundee. Diego Pineda replaces Amadou Bakayoko.