Rangers enjoy Sunday stroll at sparse Dens Park as Aaron Ramsey makes an accomplished contribution
Rangers will face far sterner examinations if they are to end their 13-year wait for Scottish Cup glory but it was a case of job done in relatively undemanding fashion as they booked their place in Monday’s semi-final draw.
First half goals from Connor Goldson and James Tavernier put the Scottish champions in cruise control at Dens Park against a Dundee side who were simply too passive and lacking in conviction to pose them any problems.
Fashion Sakala added a late third goal to make the final scoreline a more appropriate indicator of Rangers’ dominance.
As Giovanni van Bronckhorst pursues success in three competitions at home and abroad, this was a thoroughly professional performance as he utilised the depth of his squad ahead of the second leg of their Europa League last 16 tie against Red Star Belgrade in Serbia on Thursday.
There was a welcome return to action for Aaron Ramsey, the Welsh star producing his most accomplished contribution yet in a Rangers jersey.
A Scottish Cup quarter-final on opposition turf should carry an element of intimidation for the visiting team but the lamentably poor turnout of home fans in a crowd of just 5,536 helped create a benign environment for Rangers to go about their business.
Goldson’s ninth-minute opener made it an even more comfortable assignment for van Bronckhorst’s men. The big defender produced a thumping volleyed finish for his third goal of the season after an acrobatic effort from Lee Ashcroft to clear the initial danger as he somehow kept out Filip Helander’s header from a Tavernier corner.
Ramsey caught the eye with several flashes of genuine class as he made only his second starting appearance for Rangers. The Juventus loanee linked up cleverly on the right with Tavernier and forced Dundee ‘keeper Harrison Sharp into a smart save as the Ibrox side dominated.
Ashcroft spurned Dundee’s only real chance of the first half, glancing a header wide from Niall McGinn’s free-kick, and Rangers took firm command of the tie with Tavernier’s 25th minute spot-kick.
The Rangers captain was blocked off by Ryan Sweeney after another neat exchange with Ramsey and he maintained his recent impeccable form from 12 yards out as he smashed the ball high into Sharp’s right hand corner.
It remained one-way traffic as Jordan McGhee cleared off the line from Ryan Kent and van Bronckhorst had the luxury of cutting short the exertions of Glen Kamara and Alfredo Morelos who were replaced by Fashion Sakala and Kemar Roofe at half-time.
Sharp kept the score down with fine saves to deny Sakala and Roofe, while Ramsey was denied a first Rangers goal by Sweeney’s clearance on the line.
Ramsey received a warm ovation from the visiting fans when he was replaced by Charlie McCann with 11 minutes remaining and it was another young substitute, Alex Lowry, who provided the spark for Rangers’ third goal in the 87th minute.
The midfielder surged forward after securing possession on the halfway line, ending his powerful run with a perfectly timed pass into the path of Sakala who beat Sharp with a firm low shot for his 10th goal of the season.
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