Dundee turned to their Rangers specialist to claim another priceless win over the Ibrox side. Mark O’Hara’s double took his total to four in three successive home games against Rangers.
He has only scored six times in his career.
These were particularly precious strikes on this occasion for Dundee since they lift the Dens Park side off the bottom of the table. O’Hara’s goals bookended a strike from Josh Windass, whose equaliser gave Rangers every chance to seize something from the game. Instead they fell to a second successive defeat.
It means major questions must be asked of Rangers’ continued rudderless status. It was another unhappy Dens Park experience for Graeme Murty, Rangers’ caretaker manager. He had stepped into the breach in another crisis period for the Ibrox club when his side lost 2-1 here in February.
O’Hara scored Dundee’s opener that day. The 21 year old midfielder continued his own personal crusade to make life difficult for the Ibrox side by hitting two good finishes into the net below the noses of the Rangers fans crammed into the away stand.
If they were disbelieving after the first goal was thrashed past Wes Foderingham, they were moved to anger by the second, following substitute Scott Allan’s clever angled pass.
Windass had brought Rangers back into the game with a well-hit equaliser just four minutes after Dundee had gone ahead in the 66th minute. Rangers lost Alfredo Morales to injury on the cusp of half-time and also hit the bar after Josh Meekings’ misdirected clearance. But they did not do enough to win a game of football on a night when a Dundee side with equal reason to be dispirited found the hunger to source a winner.
A freezing night seemed to encourage movement and those inside Dens were treated to a lively, if low quality, opening half of football. The slippery pitch meant there was the potential for mistakes and it was something of a surprise that the game reached half-time still goalless.
Even the referee, Kevin Clancy, took a tumble at one point while Morales’ momentum also saw him run into a post shortly before the interval as he stretched for a cross.
There was a lot of pain and not much pleasure. Both teams’ centre-forwards were replaced because of injury towards the end of the opening 45 minutes. Marcus Haber received a bang in the back while challenging for the ball. Morales, meanwhile, could not shake off the knock sustained in that collision with the Dundee upright and followed the Dundee striker off. It is now ten appearances without a goal for Morales.
While neither Haber nor Morales are on a hot streak of form, losing two supposed goal threats from a game that was still 0-0 did not invite anyone to be optimistic about the deadline being broken in the second half.
Rangers had come closest to scoring in a helter-skelter opening half, Meekings swinging a boot at Daniel Candeias’ cross. The centre-half was relieved to look behind and see the ball crash off the beaten Eliot Parish’s bar.
The Dundee goalkeeper had earlier done well to block Candeias’ shot after the midfielder sought to deliver the finish Ryan Jack’s through ball deserved.
Dundee had started hesitantly, reflecting their position at the foot of the table. Faissal El Bakhtaoui finally tested Wes Foderingham with a shot from 20 yards that the Rangers ‘keeper had to tip over. Paul McGowan then hit a volley straight at Foderingham.
It was end to end at times, with space aplenty to work in. Sadly there was no one of the technical standard required to take advantage. Conditions were tricky but it was still deflating to see Dundee right back Cammy Kerr hit two successive crosses both long and high in the space of a few minutes.
The second 45 minutes were almost as artless. But at least both sets of fans were warmed when the teams traded goals midway through the second half. Dundee scored their opener after left-back Jon Aurtenetxe’s free kick from the right was not dealt with by the Rangers defence, Danny Wilson in particular. The ball fell at the feet of O’Hara, who made no mistake.
But Rangers showed resilience to respond so quickly. Four minutes later it was Dundee’s turn to fail to cope with a cross, Meekings only half-clearing Ross McCrorie’s ball into the middle. Windass latched onto the chance in a flash and thrashed the ball first time past the unsighted Parish.
Dundee followers were then rewarded for coming out on such a bitter night with another goal to celebrate, ten minutes before the end. Allan’s persistence created the chance as he picked out O’Hara in a crowed box. The midfielder has developed quite the taste for scoring against this opposition and took a touch before rifling the ball past Foderingham.