Rangers recorded their third win from three Premiership fixtures under the guidance of Philippe Clement with victory over Dundee at Dens Park.

It was far from a straightforward night. Kick-off was put back by 45 minutes after Rangers arrived late at the ground and a pyro display in the away end forced referee Kevin Clancy to call a halt to proceedings when the smoke alarms were activated.

But Rangers got the job done to remain within touching distance of Celtic in the title race. Ryan Jack opened the scoring inside five minutes and Danilo doubled the lead shortly after the break.

Sam Lammers and Cyriel Dessers both netted and they were moments that clearly meant a lot to the forwards after difficult starts to their Ibrox careers. The scoring was rounded off with a James Tavernier penalty on a night of many positives for Clement.

Rangers burst out of the blocks

There have been many times this term when Rangers have been sluggish in their approach and the inability to see off inferior opposition with relative ease has cost them once again. That mistake was not made here as a Dundee side that were in decent form were beaten in impressive fashion. Rangers didn’t take long to get down to business after the delay that followed the delay. The start was a signal of intent from the visitors. It took Clement’s side just five minutes to break the deadlock. Leon Balogun moved through the lines with ease as he burst forward into the final third and found Danilo down the left flank.

The angle was against the Brazilian but his shot wasn’t dealt with by Trevor Carson. When the ball broke inside the six yard box, Jack was on hand to convert and give Rangers the lead that their front foot approach merited. It was an advantage they would have hoped to extend sooner rather than later. The second goal didn’t come before the break, though, as Danilo was denied by Carson from close range and Abdallah Sima curled a strike over. It turned into a first half of frustration for Rangers. Clement would have demanded another quick start after the whistle. He got it. Danilo should have scored inside a couple of minutes but he made amends with a clinical effort after a Sima pass. Unlike in the first half, Rangers were able to finish the second with a flourish. Lammers beat Carson with a strike that clipped the bar before Dessers made it 4-0 with seven minutes remaining. Tavernier had the final say on another quite incredible evening.

Chris Jack

A long night for all involved at Dens

Rangers had warned their travelling supporters to give themselves as much time as possible to make their journeys amid fears over congestion around the city caused by roadworks and the weather. Unfortunately, it was they themselves that were late to arrive at Dens Park. Clement and his players stayed in St Andrews on Tuesday night. The short trip across the Tay Bridge proved difficult, though, after a road traffic incident caused significant tailbacks. It became evident around an hour and a half before kick-off that there was an issue. Rangers and Dundee both confirmed that a delay was likely and the visitors didn’t arrive until just 25 minutes before the scheduled start. An announcement of a 45-minute delay followed. It was almost eight o’clock by the time the majority of Clement’s side started their warm-up as Dundee were first to take to a pitch that had been the subject of some concern earlier in the day after heavy rainfall. Those fears didn’t come to fruition in the end.

Rangers thanked their fans for their patience and their understanding. The punters caused a further delay inside the opening minute, though, as scores of red flares were set off behind the goal and referee Kevin Clancy held discussions with the police and club officials on the touchline. The teams were taken off the pitch and a further delay of just under 20 minutes added to an already extraordinary evening. Thankfully, that was the last stoppage.

Chris Jack

Danilo is the difference 

Danilo, in a phrase, made the difference. In stark contrast to the peripheral figure Cyriel Dessers has cut towards the top end of the park of late, the Brazilian was at the centre of this Rangers performance. Understandably the headline will be a well-taken goal having worked good shooting opportunities early in the game, but outside of the penalty box the summer arrival was just as important. Danilo dropped frequently to provide a link between defence and attack and moved dynamically through the pitch to drag the defence one way before spinning the other, providing the assist for Sam Lammers’ stunning third by offering a back-to-goal option.

He provided pace and direction, buzzing around any loose ball or potential opening, allowing his team to exploit margins that haven’t fallen their way of late. And although he should’ve probably done better with a first half opportunity, and hit the target when creating his own opening with a run from the halfway line created by a header, his goal was third-time lucky. They say the sign of a good striker is repeatedly appearing in good positions, which the 24-year-old certainly provides. His minutes have been frustratingly limited since a move from Feyenoord this summer but with four league goals in as many 90 minutes the signs suggest there’s far more to come. Yes, he should’ve had another goal or two on the night but continuing his return to full fitness and starting away from home for only the second time in Scotland, this was a performance that offered real encouragement.

Joshua Barrie

Team selection surprises once again

Predicting the Rangers starting line-up has been a tricky business this season. Not the first time, this was a team that few would have foreseen getting the nod as Clement made four changes from the dramatic victory over Hearts. Clement has had to go with who has been fit to get through the minutes in a hectic schedule of domestic and European encounters. It was a tricky situation he described as a ‘puzzle’ this week. The Belgian confirmed on Tuesday that John Souttar and Nicolas Raskin had been ruled out after becoming the latest additions to the walking wounded list. The return of Jack in place of Raskin was no surprise, but the inclusion of Balogun was as he came in for his first start since the League Cup victory over Morton in August.

The name of Danilo was the one Rangers fans all wanted to see. The striker repaid their faith with a fine showing as an unfamiliar line-up got the job done in some style.

Chris Jack

It is as you were in the title race

Clement has been asked – both directly and indirectly – about a potential title challenge this season on a couple of occasions and neatly sidestepped the issue each time. The former Belgian champion with Genk and Club Brugge is not going to be drawn into making predictions about his side and what they could achieve in the coming months. His mantra of taking one game at a time will be hammered into his squad. Quite simply, he will not allow his players to get ahead of themselves and he has been honest enough to admit that there will be bumps on the road as Rangers embark on another journey under a new boss. Rangers did what they had to at the weekend as they capitalised on Celtic’s stumble against Hibernian.

It reduced the deficit to five points and Rangers will want to be no worse off than that by the time they travel across the city for the second Old Firm clash of the campaign in December. Clement would not have been concerned by events in Glasgow. The news was not as positive as it could have been for Rangers, though, as Celtic came from behind to see off St Mirren. It didn’t change the requirements for Clement’s side. Rangers took care of business and held up their end of the bargain to ensure the gap remained at five points. There is every chance it will be extended at the weekend while Rangers are on League Cup duty. As Clement knows all too well, the focus has to be on themselves for the moment.

Chris Jack