Mark McGhee responds to controversial Rangers penalty and says away fans protests helped Dundee

Dundee manager Mark McGhee admitted Rangers were worthy of all three points at Dens Park on Sunday and backed referee Bobby Madden’s contentious award of a penalty to the Scottish champions.

After Madden ruled that Dundee captain Jordan McGhee had pulled Alfredo Morelos back, James Tavernier missed from the spot to leave the visitors trailing 1-0 at half-time to Christie Elliott’s early goal.

But Rangers turned the game around in the second half with goals from Aaron Ramsey and Connor Goldson to leave Dundee four points adrift of St Johnstone at the bottom of the Premiership.

“Rangers deserved to win,” said McGhee. “With the second goal, there was a certain inevitability about it.

Dundee manager Mark McGhee was in the technical area for the first time since his appointment as his team lost 2-1 at home to Rangers. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

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“The second-half pressure they brought when we were weakened and running out of energy made it that way.

“We don’t have the changes on the bench that they are able to make so our performance started to fall away as there’s was maintained. There’s nothing we can do about that.

“As far as I’m concerned the first half was as good as we can do. We were organised, had a great shape and made it difficult for them.

“It’s a model of what we expect. The supporters here today have seen that and know that’s what they’re capable of.

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“So they should expect that each week now. We can’t accept anything less than that.

“Confidence is one thing but they now need to stand up and be counted.”

While many felt the penalty decision was harsh, McGhee had no issue with it.

“Ach, I thought it was a penalty,” he said. “It’s a light penalty, an easy penalty but he does tug him a wee bit.

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“And as soon as he tugs him the referee will give a penalty. You’ve just got to live with that. It was a penalty.”

McGhee felt his players were assisted by the delays to play caused by Rangers fans throwing toilet rolls and tennis balls onto the pitch in protest at their club’s Old Firm friendly match in Sydney in November.

“That helped us to an extent,” said McGhee. “It worked against Rangers. They’re renowned for going out fast, trying to win the game by half-time.

“But those interruptions didn’t help them, so we were quite happy. We got a breather.”

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