Rangers may have restored some equilibrium after their Champions' League exit but, in the opinion of Ivano Bonetti, they are wasting their time chasing Celtic.
The Dundee player-manager condemned Dick Advocaat's team after a spiteful encounter at Ibrox which saw both teams finish with 10 men, Neil McCann and Beto Carranza getting sent off in a bitter finale to a game that was far closer than the scoreline suggests.
Dundee's polished passing threatened to overwhelm a side still numbed by their midweek defeat at Fenerbahce, but who were grateful to the ruthless finishing of the Dutch pair Michael Mols and Fernando Ricksen.
Bonetti could barely contain his feeling that his side had been robbed and declared later: "I think we have already seen who will win the league Rangers have no chance and Celtic have a great opportunity to win another championship."
Even though Rangers were able to boast a side that included Claudio Caniggia, plundered at a cost of £1m from Dens Park in the summer, they were indeed made to look second-rate by the visitors' slick approach in the first-half.
The playmaker Georgi Nemsadze was at the centre of everything but what undid Dundee was that they failed to match all that work with the sort of killer touch Rangers demonstrated in 24 minutes.
Tony Vidmar supplied Mols on the edge of the box and the Dutch international spun superbly away from Zura Khizanishvili and lashed a left-foot shot past Jamie Langfield to dispel some of the gloomy atmosphere around Ibrox.
Juan Sara then proceeded to squander two chances from just six yards with tame headers, and his former striking partner, Caniggia, punished such wastefulness in the 67th minute by cutting Dundee open on the left and setting up Ricksen who rifled a shot home from the edge of the box.
After that, it was a case of settling scores. McCann lunged in on the Dundee captain, Barry Smith, in the 71st minute for a straight red card and then Carranza followed him four minutes later for lashing out in retaliation at Ricksen, who had been goading the Argentine midfielder.
Rangers (3-5-2): Klos; Ross, Amoruso, Vidmar; Ricksen, Hughes, Latapy, (McCann, 46), Konterman, Numan; Mols (K Miller, 53), Caniggia. Substitutes not used: Christiansen (gk), Dodds, Kanchelskis.
Dundee (4-4-2): Langfield; Smith, Khizanishvili, Del Rio, Marroco; Romano, Carranza, Nemsadze (Robertson, 87), Rae; Caballero, Sara (Milne, 62). Substitutes not used: Mathers (gk), Coyne, Bolan.
Referee: J Rowbotham.
Bookings: Rangers: Ricksen, Dundee: Khizanishvili, Romano, Nemsadze Sendings off: Rangers: McCann, Dundee: Carranza.
Man of the match: Nemsadze.
Attendance: 48,038.Reuse content