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Rangers crisis not to blame for defeat, says Graeme Murty

Dundee 2 - Rangers 1

By Andy Newport

Rangers caretaker boss Graeme Murty refused to use the Ibrox turmoil as an excuse after his timid team lost to Dundee.

The Under-20s coach was in charge again as Rangers took on Paul Hartley’s side following Mark Warburton’s exit.

But the Light Blues were out-fought and out-run during a worrying opening 45 minutes at Dens Park that saw the hosts strike twice.

Mark O’Hara slotted Dundee ahead after 13 minutes before Kevin Holt added a second with a free-kick just before the break.

Joe Garner did pull one back for Rangers after 62 minutes but it was not enough to spare his team their first league defeat at Dundee since August 1992.

And Murty was in no mood to blame the change of management for the 2-1 loss as he savaged his players’ first-half display.

He said: “The [managerial] disruption has got nothing to do with players showing the right attitude and commitment.

“They were fully prepared, they know what it meant, that they would have a battle and have to more than match that.

“But I’ve been honest and told them they didn’t do that for 45 minutes.

“It’s disappointing. It’s not really easy to put into words the emotions myself and the players went through.

“We have to be better than that and it’s not acceptable, we know that and they know that and we’ll take this on the chin. But there’s no doubt, that’s not acceptable.”

While Dundee climbed back into the top six, the defeat left Rangers six points adrift of Aberdeen in the race for second.

To make matters worse, the visitors lost defender Clint Hill after half an hour to a head knock which left the veteran complaining of double vision, while striker Garner picked up a booking that rules him out of next month’s Parkhead clash with rampant leaders Celtic.

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson said last week that Murty would remain in charge for the “foreseeable future” but chairman Dave King may decide to step up his search for a new boss in the wake of this disappointment.

Murty, though, has vowed to continue striving for better while he remains in charge.

“The fans have been through the wringer and they deserve better than we gave them,” he confessed.

“We can say we’ll endeavour to put those things right. At half-time we addressed certain issues but we need to be better than showing commitment.”

The result handed Dundee their first victory of 2017 but boss Paul Hartley was always confident.

“I thought it was a real team performance, how we performed and the way we went about it,” he said. “Our attitude was outstanding.

“We changed our shape, pressed Rangers all over the pitch. I never thought we were in danger today, even when they scored, because that came from the one time we didn’t press properly.”

DUNDEE: Bain, Kerr, Etxabeguren, O’Dea, Holt, O’Hara, Vincent, McGowan, Wighton, Ojamaa (Williams, 82 mins), Haber. Unused subs: Gourlay, Hateley, Ross, El Bakhtaoui, Gadzhalov, Gomis.

RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Hill (Wilson, 30 mins), Kiernan, Hodson, Halliday (Holt, 78 mins), Hyndman, Waghorn, Miller, McKay (Forrester, 78 mins), Garner. Unused subs: Alnwick, O’Halloran, Houston, Dodoo

Referee: Craig Thomson

Man of the match: Darren O’Dea

Match rating: 7/10

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