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Wednesday, 31 July 2013 21:30

Dundee 1-1 Rangers

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ARNOLD PERALTA’S stunning first goal for Rangers ensured his new team tied 1-1 with Dundee in their latest friendly at Dens Park.

Declan Gallagher had given the home side a deserved half-time lead with a header shortly before the break in a match held to celebrate his club’s 120th anniversary.

But the Honduran’s wonderful free kick from outside the area capped a fine individual show from him and gave the away team a draw they ultimately merited.

It perhaps wasn’t the best performace Ally McCoist’s men have given collectively since they returned to training at the end of June and in spells they had to absorb lots of pressure.

But against opponents who will be strong contenders to win the new Scottish Championship this term, he’ll be content enough with how his players fared.

Given they’re all ineligible for Saturday’s League Cup tie at Forfar, it was no great surprise to see each of Rangers’ eight new players starting the game.

Kyle McAusland, David Templeton and Luca Gasparotto completed what was a strong visiting line-up at Dens Park.

Gers were slow to get going and the hosts certainly made a more promising start as they sought an early opener.

Ryan Conroy fired over and Carlo Monti squeezed an effort just wide as John Brown’s men started on the front foot.

The Light Blues came back though and Jon Daly, wearing the captain’s armband and playing across the road from his old club Dundee United, did well to set up Nicky Clark.

But his cross sat up just a little too high for the former Queen of the South player and he couldn’t get a true connection as he tried to steer into the net.

The Dees continued to press and Monti thought he had put his side in front on the quarter-hour mark.

But after latching on to Peter MacDonald’s lob and taking advantage of a breakdown in communication between Cammy Bell and Luca Gasparotto, his header ran past the post.

Peralta was looking bright for the away side and he has clearly reaped the benefits of working with his new team-mates since joining up with them three weeks ago.

He looked sharp on the right side of midfield and collected Richard Foster’s ball down the line before cutting in past his man and forcing Kyle Latheren to tip over.

The game was swinging from end to end and MacDonald got on the end of Ryan Conroy’s cross but he was off target once again.

Templeton was then impeded and when his free kick was deflected, Clark got on the end of it and headed against the post.

Just before the interval Monti hit the woodwork too, his stinging driving skimming the top of the bar on the way over after Bell had got a hand on it.

That was the prelude to an opener for the hosts which, in truth, they deserved for their purposeful approach.

Nicky Riley took the resulting corner after Bell’s save and Gallagher rose highest in the six-yard box to angle a header over the line from close range.

Rangers improved after the restart and forced the issue more, with Nicky Law shooting a yard past within a minute of the game resuming.

Templeton also got on the ball more and that caused the Taysiders problems as his tricky movements stretched their defence.

Daly had a claim for a penalty waved away as Gallagher leaned into him and a corner was given instead, with Bilel Mohsni’s also looking as though he was impeded as he steered wide.

But just as it seemed Gers might be coming close to drawing level, Dundee almost pulled further ahead with a fine attacking move.

It culminated with Foster blocking Riley after good link-up play between him and the busy James McAlister and it was a let-off for McCoist’s team.

It was one they’d punish Dundee for not making the most of too as they got their reward for their best spell of pressure in the game after 60 minutes.

Templeton was started to get frustrated and as he was brought crashing to the ground 20 yards out, you could understand why.

Peralta stepped up to take the resulting free kick and from almost 25 yards, curled a lovely right-footed effort into the top corner to make it 1-1.

Drawing level roused Rangers and they set about trying to forge ahead for the first time in the contest.

But their tempo dropped almost immediately and while they looked a bit more likely, they struggled to create any more clear-cut chances.

Substitute Robbie Crawford did send a tricky grasscutter Letheren’s way and a little nick helped it behind for a corner but it came to nothing.

Steven Doris tried something similar in response but it flew past without any added assistance and the teams were destined to end in stalemate.

That’s encouraging enough for the new recruits, who now go into storage ahead of their biggest test of the early part of the campaign next Tuesday against Newcastle at Ibrox.

RANGERS: Bell; Foster, Gasparotto, Mohsni, S Smith; Peralta, McAusland (Crawford 65), Law, Templeton (Aird 74); Clark, Daly.

SUBS NOT USED: Gallacher, Hegarty, Faure, McKay, Walsh, Mitchell, Little.

Copyright 2014. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.rangers.co.uk

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