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Dundee 0-3 Rangers: Goldson, Tavernier and Sakala strike as Dee exit Scottish Cup with a whimper

Rangers were 3-0 winners at Dens Park last weekend.
Rangers were 3-0 winners at Dens Park last weekend.

Dundee’s hopes of reaching a first Scottish Cup semi-final in 16 years ended at the hands of Rangers on Sunday.

Goals from Connor Goldson, James Tavernier and Fashion Sakala secured progression for the visitors.

If not for the fine goalkeeping of young Harry Sharp and some dramatic defending by Ryan Sweeney, the result could have been more comprehensive.

Dundee remain winless in the six fixtures since the appointment of Mark McGhee, who served the final match of his touchline ban from home after contracting Covid. 

The fixture list gets no kinder to the Premiership’s bottom club, with the Gers due to visit once more next Sunday.

Sharp call

Dundee made three changes from the side which succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against St Mirren in midweek, with Lee Ashcroft, Paul McGowan and Danny Mullen replacing Zeno Ibsen Rossi, Luke McCowan and Declan McDaid.

Charlie Adam missed out for the Dee, while Sharp retained his place between the sticks despite the return of Ian Lawlor to the bench.

Simon Rusk took charge of affairs on the ground in the absence of McGhee.

Ashcroft, right, replaced Rossi

Rangers, meanwhile, handed on-loan Aaron Ramsey just his second start following his high-profile switch from Juventus.

Rangers advantage

Dundee were eyeing their first Scottish Cup victory over Rangers since 1985, when a John Brown strike secured a 1-0 triumph.

A more pressing concern; the Dark Blues were searching for their first win since McGhee replaced James McPake in the Dens Park hot-seat.

Rangers manufactured the first moment of threat when referee Steven McLean bizarrely deemed that a horribly skewed clearance by Cammy Kerr represented a deliberate back-pass to Sharp.

The Dark Blue wall held firm from Tavernier’s indirect free-kick.

With the travelling support outnumbering the Dundee fans by a margin — reports suggested that around 800 home tickets had been sold by Friday — those of a Rangers persuasion were soon celebrating the opener.

A Tavernier corner kick found Filip Helander at the back-post and, although the big Swede’s effort was cleared off the line by Ashcroft, Goldson was on hand to smash home the follow-up.

A sparse section of Dens Park

Sharp made a decent low stop to deny Ramsey as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side sought to press home their advantage.

Paying the penalty

In Dundee’s first meaningful foray forward, Ashcroft headed a fine Niall McGinn delivery narrowly wide of the post.

However, that moment of promise was fleeting.

Rangers doubled their advantage when referee Steven McLean deemed that Tavernier had been felled by Sweeney as he raced onto an excellent Ramsey pass.

Dundee players vehemently disagreed; Mullen was booked for his protests.

Ashcroft comes close

Undaunted, the Rangers captain dusted himself down and slammed home an unstoppable spot-kick.

Alfredo Morelos headed over the bar from close-range, before Jordan McGhee cleared a goal-bound Ryan Kent shot off the line. Dundee needed half-time.

But there was time for another blow prior to the interval when Ashcroft sunk to the turf with no other player nearby. The defender was replaced by Vontae Daley-Campbell.

No further damage

Mullen saw a sharp drive blocked at the near post as Dundee attempted to find a foothold in the tie after the break.

However, it was Rangers who came closer to adding to their advantage. Tavernier fired narrowly wide, while Fashion Sakala forced a point-blank block from Sharp.

Ramsey, seeking his first goal in Gers colours, was then thwarted on the line by the retreating Sweeney.

Sharp, doing his burgeoning reputation no harm, made another fine stop to deny a fizzing low shot by Kemar Roofe.

Sakala lashed over the bar from three yards as Rangers passed up another decent opportunity.

However, Rangers would finally ripple the net for a third time when Alex Lowry fed Sakala, who made no mistake with his low finish.

James McPake breaks silence on Dundee sacking and reveals what he will do differently in next job

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