Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers caretaker manager Graeme Murty questioned his side’s desire after they lost further ground on Aberdeen in the hunt for second place in the Scottish Premiership following a 2-1 defeat to Dundee on Sunday.
Rangers fell behind at Dens Park to first-half goals from Mark O’Hara and Kevin Holt before Joe Garner pulled one back in the second half.
It is a third successive league match without victory for the Gers, who are six points adrift of Aberdeen after they came from behind to defeat Kilmarnock 2-1 also on Sunday.
The defeat — the sixth Rangers have suffered this season — leaves them with just one win in their past six league matches and a massive 30 points behind bitter rivals and league leaders Celtic.
Murty — normally the Under-20 side’s coach but in temporary charge following manager Mark Warburton’s departure — slammed his side’s sluggish start and admitted his players were second best.
“We challenged them (the players) at half-time to show more and I think they did but they can’t wait until then — it has to be from the get-go.
“It’s not coming to Dens Park -– it’s going anywhere with a Rangers shirt on. You are a target because this is a massive club and people want to beat you, and rightly so.
“You have to deal with that expectation and more than match what they are going to bring.
“We were deficient in those aspects all the way through the game and we were second best.”
Murty, who led the Ibrox club to a 2-1 Scottish Cup win over Greenock Morton last week, dismissed suggestions the players were distracted by events happening off the pitch at the Ibrox club.
“The players know exactly where they stand. Do not let that come into your thoughts at all,” he said.
“The appointment will take place when it takes place. The players have to take care of their business on the football pitch — first, last and always.
“I will carry on until I am told otherwise but it’s fair to say I am very disappointed with how this first league game has gone.
“The players are all disappointed but they have to pick themselves up because the demands of this football club are we go again and we expect more from you.
“To be perfectly honest I expect more from them than they showed today.
“But they have been honest and open with each other and they have to come together as a squad and make it better on the pitch.”
The win sends Dundee into the top six and manager Paul Hartley hailed the result as the best in his tenure.
“I thought it was outstanding in terms of the team performance. It’s probably the best since I came here three years ago,” said Hartley after his side’s first victory in 2017.
“Everything just clicked and I thought we executed the game plan perfectly.