Novo ends drought on old stamping ground

Dundee 0 - Rangers 2
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Nacho Novo returned to haunt Dundee yesterday by choosing Dens Park as the place to end his long barren run and score his first Scottish Premier League goals for Rangers.

The small Spaniard rescued his new team, who were heading for a draw until Novo came off the bench and struck twice in three minutes to push Alex McLeish's side up into second place in the table.

Novo scored 26 times last season for Dundee before his move to Ibrox in the summer for £450,000. However, with only one Champions' League qualifying goal to his name, he had dropped down the pecking order at Rangers until yesterday.

"Nacho could not buy a goal for a while and believed he would not score again," McLeish reflected. "However, we just told him to keep trying and now I am sure we will see a much more confident striker."

For Dundee, salt was rubbed into the wound by the fact that a blunder by the referee Stuart Dougal just before Novo scored, turned out to be very costly.

Dougal failed to punish Chris Burke's pass back in the 77th minute which saw Stefan Klos dive at the feet of John Sutton to deny the Dundee striker. But instead of facing an indirect free-kick, Klos cleared the ball down the pitch for Gregory Vignal to cross for Burke to head into the path of Novo, who could not miss from six yards.

Then, two minutes later, the same pair created another goal. Burke danced past Jonay Hernandez Santos on the byline and cut the ball back for Novo to sweep in a right-foot shot.

Dundee thought they had gone ahead eight minutes before the end of the first-half, but Glen Larsen's fierce shot cruelly struck the post.

Rangers had the greater pressure in that first period but the midfielder Stephen Hughes squandered three good chances. Fernando Ricksen was denied by Dundee's goalkeeper Derek Soutar on the hour from a Burke corner, but stalemate seemed certain until Novo's entrance.

Goals: Novo (78) 0-1; Novo (80) 0-2.

Dundee (4-4-2): Soutar; McDonald, Sancho, Mann, Hernandez Santos; Barrett (Brady, 85), B Smith, Fotheringham, Anderson; Sutton, Larsen. Substitutes not used: Jack (gk), Hutchinson, McNally, Hegarty.

Rangers (4-4-2): Klos; Khizanishvili, Andrews, Boumsong, Vanoli (Vignal, h-t); Burke, Ricksen, Malcolm, Hughes (Lovenkrands, 58); Arveladze (Novo, 66), Thompson. Substitutes not used: G Smith (gk), McLean, Davidson, McCormack.

Referee: S Dougal.

Booked: Dundee: B Smith. Rangers: Khizanishvili.

Man of the match: Sancho.

Attendance: 9,404.