Philippe Clement is adamant under-pressure Rangers will focus fully on playing to their own strengths in Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final with Hearts.

The Ibrox side head into the Hampden showdown on the back of a damaging run of two wins from their last eight games in all competitions, with their cinch Premiership title bid having been dented significantly by a return of just two points from their last three matches.

Hearts, by contrast, go into the match buoyed by back-to-back wins over St Mirren and Livingston and are 11 points clear of their nearest rivals in their quest to secure third place in the table.

Clement dismissed any notion that his side must adapt their game-plan in any way to deal with Steven Naismith’s on-form team and instead must simply attempt to play their own game to a higher standard than they have been recently.

“I don’t counter anything,” he said. “We will play our own game, we don’t need to counter another team.

“We are going to play our own game and believe in ourselves and show our qualities.

“To win we need a better performance than we had on Wednesday (in the 0-0 draw at Dundee), for sure. We need to do the right things against Hearts who have played a very good season.

“It’s a very interesting test for the players and I know they are all hungry to go to the final. They’ve had the experience of going to a final and winning it (the Viaplay Cup) and some of them have won several already so the mood is big.”

Clement felt some anxiety crept into Rangers’ play on Wednesday and caused them to go too direct, so he has called for them to rediscover their composure when in possession.

“Against Dundee we were too direct so we lost the balance in that way,” he said. “Sometimes we wanted to play too fast and it’s finding that good balance by showing it with images and what we need to do and take lessons out of that.

“Maybe the hunger was too big to go too fast forward. We need to find a good balance and do that in a better way against Hearts.”

Rangers have been subjected to ferocious criticism recently and Clement admits he will find out a lot about his players in terms of how they respond under pressure in the coming weeks.

“It is easy to be good and be happy when it goes easy,” he said. “It is when the going gets tough you see the personality and the character.

“Players can grow in this. It is a growing experience. It is not only from nature that you have this, you can grow in that.

“That is an important part of being part of this club. It is also something that Nils (Koppen, director of football recruitment) knows really well, it is something to look at in recruitment also.”

Lawrence Shankland is allowing himself to dream of adorning his already distinguished Hearts career with Scottish Cup glory as he targets semi-final revenge on Rangers this Sunday.

In less than two seasons at Tynecastle, the 28-year-old Scotland forward has firmly established himself as a hero in the eyes of supporters by notching 56 goals for the Jambos.

But Shankland knows captaining Hearts to their first silverware in 12 years would elevate his status at the club even further.

“It would be amazing,” he said. “You’re allowed to dream when you’re at this stage.

“The semi-final, one step away from a final, it’s obviously something you’re looking at. But you need to concentrate on the task at hand first and if you can get by that, you can continue to dream.

“All trophies help the status of not just me but the full team. You go down as a team that gets remembered if you can get your hands on a trophy so the boys will have that in their heads and that’s what we’ll look to do.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, it’s one we are all looking forward to and we need to go into it with a real positive outlook.”

Shankland was at Hampden for each of Hearts’ previous two Scottish Cup triumphs in 2006 and 2012.

“I was working at the 2012 final (against Hibernian) with Queen’s Park (where he was a young player) handing out the programmes,” he recalled. “And the one before that, against Gretna, I was at Hearts as a kid and got tickets through the club.

“I met the Gretna owner Brooks Mileson outside the ground and got a photo with him. Good memories, so hopefully we can go back this year and get our hands on the cup.”

Hearts’ last visit to Hampden brought a 3-1 defeat to Rangers in the semi-final of the Viaplay Cup in early November.

However, since that setback, at a time when they were struggling in the league, Steven Naismith’s side have found much improved form over the past six months and motored 11 points clear in third place in the cinch Premiership.

“The last time at Hampden we came away with a bit of regret,” said Shankland. “We felt we didn’t really put our stamp on the game and we let it bypass us, which was really disappointing.

“That was something we can learn from though, so hopefully we can implement what we’ve been working on this time.”

While Hearts go into the semi-final buoyed by back-to-back wins over St Mirren and Livingston, Rangers have won only two of their last eight matches in all competitions and have been heavily criticised as their title bid has unravelled in recent weeks.

“Obviously they’ve been going through a wee sticky spell but we know it’s going to be difficult,” said Shankland. “It’s a Scottish Cup semi-final, it’s away from league duty, so they will get a lift from that.

“If you look too much into their form, you could get caught. Rangers are obviously a good team and have been for the last wee while.

“Of course form maybe drops off a wee bit but it’s just the scrutiny of our league and how high the pressure is for the two teams at the top of the league that adds to it.

“I don’t think we can look at it too much. We’ll analyse Rangers as we know them, and the last time we played them at Ibrox, they gave us a bit of a doing (5-0), so that’s something we’ll need to be wary of.”

Dujon Sterling has called for a mentality change from Rangers for the season’s finale after a string of poor performances.

The goalless draw at Dundee on Wednesday night in their game in hand left Philippe Clement’s side three points behind cinch Premiership leaders Celtic with five post-split fixtures remaining, which includes a trip to Parkhead.

The loss of a valuable two points which swings the title further towards Celtic came after their first ever defeat against Ross County on Sunday and a 3-3 draw against the Hoops at Ibrox, where they had to come from behind twice to salvage a point.

Now the Light Blues need to focus on Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park and Sterling, who signed from Chelsea last summer, was brutally honest about the current state of affairs at the Govan club who now have two wins in eight in all competition and he is looking for rapid change.

Asked about possibly owing a performance on Sunday to Clement, who put up a stout defence of his players after the Dundee disappointment, and the fans who booed the players off in angry frustration, utility player Sterling said: “We owe ourselves a performance as well because we have been s*** the past three games.

“We need to re-set and do it for the fans as well because they have come home and away, backing us, singing for 90, 95, 100 minutes and we owe it to them.

“Obviously the results have been disappointing in the past two weeks and I know they have seen it before over the past years. Hopefully we can change that but we will see.

“We are fighting for a title and the way we are playing is as if we are not playing for anything, like the season is dead and it is a dead rubber game.

“Somehow it has got to switch. I don’t have the words to do it or know how to do it. It is a team thing, not just one person and not just the gaffer.

“We just have to have that belief that we can (come back). We had the togetherness, we had the belief. We still have the togetherness but I don’t know if the belief is there.

” I think everyone has to switch their minds that we can have that belief that we can do this. It is not good enough on our part. We have a lot of work to do and we need to re-set.

“We need to get our heads in the game, switch our mentality because for now, it is not going in the right direction.

“There is still a lot of games to be played and there’s still things to fight for.

“Of course anything can happen. We have five games left, five cup finals and hopefully the fans can push us to get through them.

“The dressing room is down at the minute. But we dust this one off, get back to the training ground and review it, park it and focus on the semi-final.”

Defiant Philippe Clement still believes Rangers can win the cinch Premiership title despite another set-back with a goalless draw at Dundee.

The Ibrox side lost for the first time ever against Ross County on Sunday in the poorest performance since the Belgian replaced Michael Beale last October and he was looking for a response against the Dark Blues, who had clinched a top-six place at the weekend.

However, in a game played at the third time of asking after the Dens Park pitch was twice ruled unplayable, the visitors could not get the breakthrough and were booed off the park by angry supporters.

The Ibrox side were eight points behind league leaders Celtic at one point and with five post-split matches remaining including a trip to Parkhead, they are three points behind but asked if they could still win it, Clement said: “I still believe that.

“I was maybe the only one in Glasgow who believed that in October, probably the only one of the whole town who believed that.

“We are now six months later and if we win all our games then there is a really big possibility for that.

“I think that is already a big step forward and I believe in this group, because I have seen what they have done this season already. They can do it again.

“Of course it is frustrating because you want to win, of course. You see the team gives everything for that. There was only one team who deserved to win this evening if you see the possession and the chances. It is frustrating if you have those things and don’t have the points.

“It would be concerning if it was the same performance as Sunday. That was not the case.

“So, there were a lot of things much better, it was also needed because Sunday was our worst performance in the six months that we’ve been together.

“Then it’s a pity that they show better things but don’t get the result behind you. But, it’s about standing up and being ready for Sunday again, to take the result.

“If they keep on pushing what they did today then results come also because that’s not big difference from how they played a few weeks ago or a few months ago.”

Ahead of the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park on Sunday, Clement asked for the backing of the Gers fans who were left so frustrated.

He said: “They need to stick with the team. That is super important. It is winning together and losing points together.

“I know as a fan you have the emotions and for sure after the game. But they have been great the last couple of months and pushing the team over difficult moments. That is what I expect also in this situation.

“They expect that the team gives everything to win games. Maybe in the next weeks they can push the team a few times over the line, or the ball over the line.”

Tony Docherty strongly disagreed with Clement’s assertion that only one team deserved to win the game.

“I thought it was, again, a really fantastic performance by the team,” said the Dundee boss, who revealed skipper Joe Shaughnessy will have a scan on a knee injury which saw him limp off early in the first half.

“I thought we went toe to toe with a really good Rangers team which has a huge motivation in the title race.

“But who had the more motivation in that game there?

“I thought my players served up a fantastic performance out of possession and in possession.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with them because I thought their focus going into the last two games was outstanding.

“And I thought we got our rewards tonight.”

Rangers’ recent regression continued with a grim goalless draw at Dundee which further dented their increasingly-fragile cinch Premiership title hopes.

The Ibrox side lost for the first time ever against Ross County on Sunday in the poorest performance since boss Philippe Clement took over last October and the Gers boss was looking for a reaction against the Dark Blues.

In a game played at the third time of asking after the Dens Park pitch was twice ruled unplayable, there was no improvement against a Dundee side who impressed.

The travelling Gers fans urged their team on after the break but they lacked imagination and guile and again heard boos at the final whistle.

With five post-split matches remaining including a trip to Celtic Park, the Light Blues are three points behind the Hoops at the top of the table and have hit the skids at the wrong time.

Rangers will now prepare for the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final against Hearts at Hampden Park on Sunday with newly-acquired trepidation.

Tony Docherty’s Dundee, who commendably clinched a top-six place on their return to the top flight, are now three points behind fifth-placed St Mirren and they deserved their point.

It is now just two wins in eight in all competitions for Clement’s stumbling side.

Utility player Dujon Sterling, midfielder Tom Lawrence and striker Kemar Roofe returned to the side with the latter making his first start since December 20 as Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell and Cyriel Dessers dropped to the bench.

Ricki Lamie, Owen Dodgson and Malachi Boateng were back for the Taysiders, who came close to scoring within a minute when Boateng’s low drive just escaped Ibrox keeper Jack Butland’s right-hand post.

Dundee skipper Joe Shaughnessy limped off after 10 minutes to be replaced by Antonio Portales before Gers attacker Abdallah Sima outstripped the home defence but his low drive was blocked by the foot of Jon McCracken, the Dundee keeper saving another effort from the Brighton loanee moments later.

Dundee played the better football. In the 22nd minute Butland parried a Luke McCowan free-kick from 25 yards and Scott Tiffoney got to the rebound first to help it on to Amadou Bakayoko to knock over the line from a yard out but the offside flag went up.

Rangers toiled, threatening only occasionally.

McCracken pushed a curling free-kick from Gers skipper James Tavernier round the post then saved a Connor Goldson header from the resulting corner but it was the more composed and fluid home side who were applauded off at the break.

Rangers stepped up the tempo at the start of the second half but a spark of creativity was absent and Dundee’s defending was organised.

In the 56th minute, Clement tried a shake-up and Dessers, Dowell and Rabbi Matondo replaced Roofe, Todd Cantwell and Fabio Silva and McCracken soon had to save from Lawrence’s drive from a tight angle.

McCracken pulled off a fine save from Dessers’ curling shot as the Dees defence were stretched for once and held a tame Tavernier header but it was mostly huffing and puffing from the visitors while Dundee were always a threat.

Worryingly for Gers fans, their side have suffered a dip in form at the wrong time of the season.

Philippe Clement has put Rangers’ historic defeat to Ross County down to an “off-day” that even the best teams in the world experience as he looks for a reaction against Dundee on Wednesday night.

County’s 3-2 cinch Premiership victory on Sunday was the Dingwall club’s first win over Rangers in 25 attempts and dented the Light Blues’ title hopes.

Rangers are four points behind Celtic, with their game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park getting the green light to go ahead after two previous postponements due to an unplayable pitch.

Clement’s side have won just two in seven and taken four points from their last 12 but the Belgian was keen to isolate the County display as the first of its kind with deficiencies in structure, organisation and basics since he took over in October and insists such days happen at every club, including all-conquering Manchester City.

“They were very disappointed in themselves and that is a positive thing,” said Clement, who revealed left-back Ridvan Yilmaz remains out along with midfielder Mohamed Diomande, while defender Leon Balogun is a doubt with illness.

“I had some clear words after the game and then we had a good debriefing on what went wrong – individually and collectively – and how we can make it better.

“It was an off-day.

“It is the first time in six months that I have seen my team like that and I was disappointed. But I think every manager has moments like that, even with teams that win amazing things.

“I have been watching the series of Man City’s treble last year and I saw quite a few of those moments.

“It doesn’t mean that I want to see it back on Wednesday of course, but it is part of the game.

“It’s not something that you want, not the players or manager, fans.

“But the most important thing is how you react and I have a good feeling about that, that I will see the real face of my team tomorrow.

“Motherwell (lost 2-1) was a freak accident, we could have won 6-1, we had a lot of chances but it wasn’t our lucky day.

“The Celtic game (3-3) was a big game, we didn’t start well but we had a great reaction and we played a really good second half and I think it was a deserved draw.

“But this one on Sunday was a bad one, that is true, so we have to react tomorrow.

“Sometimes you need a knock on your head to remind you what you need to do to be strong.”

Clement was pleased to see that the match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

He said: “People who decided to play at Dens Park are sure that there will be a game tomorrow and that is a very positive thing.

“They know the weather forecast probably and they are certain that the pitch will cope with that.

“So it’s good for us to know where we will play and people from Dundee and Rangers are happy that we can finally play the game.”

The cinch Premiership match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking on Wednesday after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

A statement from the Scottish Professional Football League said: “The SPFL can confirm that the cinch Premiership game between Dundee and Rangers scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday April 17, is set to go ahead as planned at the Scot Foam Stadium, Dens Park.

“On the basis of the weather forecasts and following discussions with the SPFL-appointed pitch consultants, who have been at the stadium for a number of days, no further inspection is planned ahead of the match.

“Contingency plans had been put in place by the league to switch the fixture to McDiarmid Park should the pitch have been deemed unplayable today, but these will no longer be required and the game will go ahead as planned at Dens Park.”

The fixture has taken on extra significance in the wake of Rangers’ shock defeat to Ross County at the weekend, which has left them four points adrift of Celtic, with this fixture their game in hand.

McDiarmid Park has been lined up for Wednesday’s cinch Premiership encounter between Dundee and Rangers if Dens Park fails a pitch inspection on Tuesday.

The Scottish Professional Football League is eager for the game to be played before the post-split fixtures begin even though Dundee clinched the final place in the top six with a draw at Aberdeen on Saturday.

The match has been postponed twice because of a waterlogged surface. The game was initially called off last month 90 minutes before kick-off and last Wednesday saw the fifth postponement at Dens Park this season.

In a statement, the league announced its contingency measures.

“The SPFL has appointed an experienced pitch consultancy, which is regularly used by UEFA and other sporting bodies, to report back to the league with guidance on the condition of the pitch in advance of Wednesday’s match,” it read.

“Dundee were also informed on Thursday that they must provide the pitch consultants, SPFL and Rangers with daily updates on the playing surface and weather forecast, and immediately report any concerns regarding Wednesday’s match being played at Dens Park.

“It has further been agreed that the match official will carry out an inspection of the playing surface on the morning of Tuesday, April 16, after which, taking weather forecasts into account, a final decision will be taken on whether to play the game at Dens Park.

“If the game cannot be played at Dens Park, the SPFL has confirmed that it will be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park on Wednesday, April 17, with Dundee making arrangements for fans of both teams to attend.

“If the game requires to be moved to McDiarmid Park, it will still be categorised as a Dundee FC ‘home game’.

“The SPFL is grateful for the assistance of St Johnstone and will make a further announcement (on Tuesday).”

Rangers added in their own statement: “Following strong representations from Rangers, supporters who have tickets for Dens Park will be able to attend the game at McDiarmid Park, should it move.”

The post-split fixtures are not expected to be announced on Monday.

Ross County delivered a body blow to Rangers’ cinch Premiership title hopes in Dingwall with their first win in their history over the Ibrox side.

When Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes it already looked a long way back for the home side but two goals in three minutes soon after the break from Simon Murray and George Harmon turned the game on its head before Josh Sims added a third after 69 minutes.

Gers skipper James Tavernier netted a penalty in the 89th minute following VAR intervention but the spirited home side held on for a momentous 3-2 win which also boosts their bid to avoid relegation.

After 20 defeats and four draws in 24 games against Rangers, the Dingwall club had at last registered a long-awaited win over the Govan club and its ramifications affect both ends of the table as second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone.

With six fixtures remaining Philippe Clement’s side are four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but it is the Hoops who now look to be in command.

Once again Rangers, with Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell, Todd Cantwell and Abdallah Sima back in the side, found themselves under the pressure of trying to reduce the gap behind their Old Firm rivals.

Ross Laidlaw, Yan Dhanda, Sims, Victor Loturi and  Harmon were restored to Don Cowie’s side who started the game nine points ahead of bottom side Livingston.

County had the first attempt on goal within minutes when Michee Efete’s cross from the right found Harmon at the back post but under pressure from Sima he scoped the ball over the bar.

Rangers struggled to get into their rhythm but they were gifted the lead following Tavernier’s corner from the right.

Portuguese attacker Silva headed on and in his attempt to clear while facing his own net and challenging Gers defender John Souttar, Baldwin succeeded only in knocking the ball over the line as Laidlaw failed to keep it out although it took a while before the goal registered with the travelling fans at the other end of the ground.

The game opened up further and Laidlaw saved a decent shot from Cantwell before Gers keeper Jack Butland kept out a low drive from Sims with Laidlaw saving further efforts from Sima and striker Cyriel Dessers.

In the 38th minute, amid a spell of County pressing, Harmon lifted a shot high over the bar from close range as did Dessers at the other end before the break.

The game took an unexpected twist at the start of the second half when energetic County striker Murray levelled at the second attempt, driving in after Butland had blocked his first shot with his foot.

Rangers were still coming to terms with that setback when Murray found himself with space again before unleashing a drive which Butland spilled but Harmon was on hand to drive into the net.

The Govan side shook themselves and Dessers and Sima had efforts of varying quality before Sima used his hand to knock the ball into the County net with the ‘goal’ ruled out.

The home side ran up the pitch moments later and scored a third, Murray breaking into the box and setting up Sims to show composure before beating Butland from close range

Cantwell struck the bar with a terrific effort six minutes later and then VAR Andrew Dallas flagged up a possible handball from County substitute Brandon Khela inside the box and referee Matthew MacDermid awarded a penalty after a monitor check which Tavernier converted, but there was to be no comeback.

Rangers slipped up against the most unlikeliest of opponents and it may prove fatal.

Ross County delivered a body blow to Rangers’ cinch Premiership title hopes in Dingwall with their first win in their history over the Ibrox side.

When Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes it already looked a long way back for the home side but two goals in three minutes soon after the break from Simon Murray and George Harmon turned the game on its head before Josh Sims added a third after 69 minutes.

Gers skipper James Tavernier netted a penalty in the 89th minute following VAR intervention but the spirited home side held on for a momentous 3-2 win which also boosts their bid to avoid relegation.

After 20 defeats and four draws in 24 games against Rangers, the Dingwall club had at last registered a long-awaited win over the Govan club and its ramifications affect both ends of the table as second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone.

With six fixtures remaining Philippe Clement’s side are four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but it is the Hoops who now look to be in command.

Once again Rangers, with Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell, Todd Cantwell and Abdallah Sima back in the side, found themselves under the pressure of trying to reduce the gap behind their Old Firm rivals.

Ross Laidlaw, Yan Dhanda, Sims, Victor Loturi and  Harmon were restored to Don Cowie’s side who started the game nine points ahead of bottom side Livingston.

County had the first attempt on goal within minutes when Michee Efete’s cross from the right found Harmon at the back post but under pressure from Sima he scoped the ball over the bar.

Rangers struggled to get into their rhythm but they were gifted the lead following Tavernier’s corner from the right.

Portuguese attacker Silva headed on and in his attempt to clear while facing his own net and challenging Gers defender John Souttar, Baldwin succeeded only in knocking the ball over the line as Laidlaw failed to keep it out although it took a while before the goal registered with the travelling fans at the other end of the ground.

The game opened up further and Laidlaw saved a decent shot from Cantwell before Gers keeper Jack Baldwin kept out a low drive from Sims with Laidlaw saving further efforts from Sima and striker Cyriel Dessers.

In the 38th minute, amid a spell of County pressing, Harmon lifted a shot high over the bar from close range as did Dessers at the other end before the break.

The game took an unexpected twist at the start of the second half when energetic County striker Murray levelled at the second attempt, driving in after Butland had blocked his first shot with his foot.

Rangers were still coming to terms with that setback when Murray found himself with space again before unleashing a drive which Butland spilled but Harmon was on hand to drive into the net.

The Govan side shook themselves and Dessers and Sima had efforts of varying quality before Sima used his hand to knock the ball into the County net with the ‘goal’ ruled out.

The home side ran up the pitch moments later and scored a third, Murray breaking into the box and setting up Sims to show composure before beating Butland from close range

Cantwell struck the bar with a terrific effort six minutes later and then VAR Andrew Dallas flagged up a possible handball from County substitute Brandon Khela inside the box and referee Matthew MacDermid awarded a penalty after a monitor check which Tavernier converted, but there was to be no comeback.

Rangers slipped up against the most unlikeliest of opponents and it may prove fatal.

Ross County delivered a body blow to Rangers’ cinch Premiership title hopes in Dingwall with their first-ever win over the Ibrox side.

When Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes it already looked a long way back for the home side but two goals in three minutes soon after the break from Simon Murray and George Harmon turned the game on its head before Josh Sims added a third after 69 minutes.

Gers skipper James Tavernier netted a penalty in the 89th minute following VAR intervention but the spirited home side held on for a momentous 3-2 win which also boosts their bid to avoid relegation.

After 20 defeats and four draws in 24 games against Rangers, the Dingwall club had at last registered a long-awaited win over the Govan club and its ramifications affect both ends of the table as second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone.

With six fixtures remaining Philippe Clement’s side are four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but it is the Hoops who now look to be in command.

Once again Rangers, with Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell, Todd Cantwell and Abdallah Sima back in the side, found themselves under the pressure of trying to reduce the gap behind their Old Firm rivals.

Ross Laidlaw, Yan Dhanda, Sims, Victor Loturi and  Harmon were restored to Don Cowie’s side who started the game nine points ahead of bottom side Livingston.

County had the first attempt on goal within minutes when Michee Efete’s cross from the right found Harmon at the back post but under pressure from Sima he scoped the ball over the bar.

Rangers struggled to get into their rhythm but they were gifted the lead following Tavernier’s corner from the right.

Portuguese attacker Silva headed on and in his attempt to clear while facing his own net and challenging Gers defender John Souttar, Baldwin succeeded only in knocking the ball over the line as Laidlaw failed to keep it out although it took a while before the goal registered with the travelling fans at the other end of the ground.

The game opened up further and Laidlaw saved a decent shot from Cantwell before Gers keeper Jack Baldwin kept out a low drive from Sims with Laidlaw saving further efforts from Sima and striker Cyriel Dessers.

In the 38th minute, amid a spell of County pressing, Harmon lifted a shot high over the bar from close range as did Dessers at the other end before the break.

The game took an unexpected twist at the start of the second half when energetic County striker Murray levelled at the second attempt, driving in after Butland had blocked his first shot with his foot.

Rangers were still coming to terms with that setback when Murray found himself with space again before unleashing a drive which Butland spilled but Harmon was on hand to drive into the net.

The Govan side shook themselves and Dessers and Sima had efforts of varying quality before Sima used his hand to knock the ball into the County net with the ‘goal’ ruled out.

The home side ran up the pitch moments later and scored a third, Murray breaking into the box and setting up Sims to show composure before beating Butland from close range

Cantwell struck the bar with a terrific effort six minutes later and then VAR Andrew Dallas flagged up a possible handball from County substitute Brandon Khela inside the box and referee Matthew MacDermid awarded a penalty after a monitor check which Tavernier converted, but there was to be no comeback.

Rangers slipped up against the most unlikeliest of opponents and it may prove fatal.

Philippe Clement recently learned about Rangers’ impressive record against Ross County but is still anticipating a tough challenge in Dingwall on Sunday.

In 24 meetings between the two clubs, the Light Blues have won 20 with four games drawn, three of which came in the 2016/17 campaign with the most recent in January 2022, when the Staggies’ Matthew Wright scored a stoppage-time equaliser for a 3-3 draw.

The two cinch Premiership clashes this season ended with a 2-0 away win for Rangers last August when Michael Beale was still Gers boss before he was replaced by the Belgian in October, and a 3-1 win for the Govan side at Ibrox in February.

However, Clement will not pay too much attention to the past and said: “I read from their manager that they are super-motivated and want to do something special.

“It is always the case that we have respect for every opponent.

“They played a good game at Ibrox also. We know we need to play a good game to get the three points. We are focused on that now.”

Clement admits preparations have had to change this week after Wednesday night’s game against Dundee at Dens Park was postponed for a second time.

Referee Don Robertson deemed the waterlogged pitch unplayable following a second inspection of the day at 3.30pm.

The first cancellation came last month, 90 minutes before the scheduled kick-off, and the game will be played next Wednesday night on Tayside, although it could be moved to a neutral venue if the weather is again a problem.

Clement said: “We had to change plans. It is a different preparation but no excuse towards the game on Sunday.

“I am not somebody who wants to have excuses if we need to change plans.

“We always adapt to the situation but, of course, if I see things that are not normal I will speak about it.

“I will always adapt to win games with my team, whatever decisions are made we go to win games. That is the mindset. No excuses around that

Dundee manager Tony Docherty kept his “laser focus” on Saturday’s trip to Pittodrie as he dodged questions about the Dens Park pitch and the controversy over the second postponement of their game with Rangers.

Docherty’s side will clinch a cinch Premiership top-six place if they beat Aberdeen and a draw would suffice if Motherwell get a result against Hibernian at Fir Park.

Defeat for Dundee would put off confirmation of the make-up of the top and bottom six until the game with Rangers finally goes ahead.

The match is now scheduled for Wednesday, but alternatives are being discussed between the clubs and the Scottish Professional Football League.

When asked what state the pitch was in following the latest call-off on Wednesday due to a waterlogged surface, Docherty said in a media conference: “I really don’t know. I’ve not been anywhere near the pitch. We are in the Gardyne training facility and that’s where I have been for the last two days preparing for the Aberdeen game on Saturday.”

Rangers accused Dundee of “negligence” after the postponement and Hibernian are reported to have complained to the SPFL given Docherty’s side may go into their final pre-split game knowing what they need to achieve.

The Dundee manager refused to get involved in the furore.

“In my capacity as football manager, all I can affect is my role as football manager and it’s incumbent upon me to make sure I prepare a team for the matches that are upcoming,” he said.

“So anything outwith that, I can’t affect other teams, I can’t comment on other teams, I wouldn’t comment on other teams.”

When asked about the prospect of facing Rangers at a neutral venue next Wednesday, Docherty said: “There is nothing I can do about that, I can’t affect that. I can affect the Aberdeen game and that’s where my laser focus is. Nothing can distract us from that.”

Dundee’s previous game against Motherwell was the subject of similar uncertainty and talks over alternative venues and dates before it went ahead following a late inspection last Saturday, the visitors winning 3-2 after Dundee went 2-0 up.

Docherty said: “Of course it can be unsettling because you prepare for every game. We have had five call-offs. You prepare for every game in terms of game plan, selection of players. But players quickly move on and I quickly move on. That’s gone now, that’s in the past.

“It’s incumbent upon me as manager to make sure there is a laser focus now towards the Aberdeen game and that’s what me, my players and my staff have got. The next game is the most important game and something that we are very focused on.

“It’s huge testament to this group of players, as the newly-promoted team and the youngest squad in the league… Seventeen of the squad have made their Premiership debut this season, of that 11 are under 21. It’s huge testament to the group that we are a win away from that (top six) and it’s advantage us because it’s in our hands.

“I need to give them great praise for that and I want to see them sprint across that finish line.”

John Souttar will put Euro 2024 aims on the backburner as he looks forward to a potentially thrilling finale to the domestic season with Rangers.

The Light Blues already have the Viaplay Cup in the Ibrox trophy room and will play Hearts in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park on Sunday week.

Philippe Clement’s side are also chasing cinch Premiership leaders Celtic at the top of the table as they prepare for the trip to Ross County on Sunday and while the summer offers the possibility to go to the European Championships in Germany with Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad, the Gers defender is looking no further than Dingwall.

The 27-year-old said: “To be honest, my full focus is on Rangers. It is massive for us at the end of the season, there are six, seven weeks left and everyone knows what is at stake. So for me, the full focus is on every game.

“I know it is cliche but it is so important we go into every game with full concentration and full belief in what we have been doing for the last months since the gaffer came in.

“We stick to everything that has got us in this position and the rest will take care of itself.”

After an injury-ravaged first season at Ibrox following his move from Hearts, Souttar is pleased to have racked up 35 appearance for Rangers this season so far.

“Everyone knows last season for me was far from ideal and it wasn’t what I dreamed of when I signed here,” he said.

“But this season, so far, I have made up probably for lost time in the games that I have played and the minutes I have had on the pitch.

“I think towards the end of the season I will look back in the summer and how we have finished the season and hopefully it is a great end.

“I will be doing everything I can personally and everyone in the changing room will be collectively to make sure it is one we can remember for the rest of our lives.”

Philippe Clement insists Rangers are prepared to play their twice-postponed game against Dundee behind closed doors – and even on Mars – after a proposal to fulfil the fixture on Thursday was rejected.

The Govan club accused Dundee of “negligence and unprofessionalism” after their cinch Premiership match at Dens Park was called off again on Wednesday night.

The game has been rescheduled for next Wednesday night after referee Don Robertson deemed the waterlogged pitch unplayable following a second inspection of the day at 3.30pm.

It is the second time the game has been postponed – the first came last month, 90 minutes before the scheduled kick-off – but the Gers boss revealed there will be a decision made at 12pm next Tuesday and his side will be ready to play without any supporters at an alternative venue.

“I was ready for everything and we were ready to play,” said Clement, who revealed midfielder Mohamed Diomande will miss the game at Ross County on Sunday after having an operation on his thumb having sustained the injury against Celtic last weekend.

“It is a long-time problem and a second time for us that it has been postponed,” Clement added.

“It could have been avoided by playing at another venue somewhere else because everyone knew what the situation was.

“That could have been avoided last week by taking a decision earlier or we play at another venue.

“We were even prepared to play today, so soon before the Ross County game.

“We offered that option but it was not accepted apparently, so it will be next week. It was not possible to play today at another venue.

“I don’t think the option was there (to play before Celtic game). Dundee needed time to fix their pitch to play Motherwell.

“The last thing I heard was that we will know on Tuesday at 12 o’clock at the latest where we will play on Wednesday.

“If not Dundee it will need to be somewhere else, but we must know before we travel on Tuesday.

“It is a disadvantage (behind closed doors) but it is what it is, we have to adapt, like when it was Covid and we didn’t like that.

“But our mindset is whatever decisions are made, we go to win games. So no excuses around that.

“If that is the decision, we will play behind closed doors. If they ask us to play on Mars, we go to Mars, we take a flight to win the three points. That is the mindset of me and all my players.”

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