James McPake, Dundee’s irate manager, vented his full fury in the wake of watching Rangers keeper Jon McLaughlin remain on the Dens Park pitch despite committing a blatant last-man foul on Paul McMullan.

McPake, whose side are still without a win in seven Premiership matches, couldn’t contain his obvious anger after referee Bobby Madden sparked no shortage of controversy by refusing to show McLaughlin a straight red card in 59 minutes as his team desperately chased an equaliser to counter Joe Aribo’s 16th-minute strike for the champions.

The Dens boss was asked if McLaughlin had made a genuine attempt to play the ball as McMullan shaped to equalise for the Premiership’s bottom-club, and pulled no punches having earlier been red-carded himself by Madden on full-time for his stern protestations in respect of the second-half flashpoint.

"In my opinion, no,” stated McPake.

“I know the rule is if you make a genuine attempt and people will disagree and say it's a genuine attempt. 

HeraldScotland:

“Paul McMullan is clearly by him and the leg comes out. If it's Adam Legzdins would my answer be different, probably not. 

"I am just giving an honest opinion having seen it back I think the arm catches him as well. TV footage will maybe show that better. I am looking at it from a high camera.

"We miss the penalty but we still have half-an-hour to play with 11 v 10. I like the rule that if you make a genuine attempt it's not a red card offence but Paul McMullan is clearly by him by the time he makes an attempt.”

McPake’s mood wasn’t helped either by Madden’s blunt post-match explanation but the Dark Blues manager was still full of praise for his side’s whole-hearted efforts on the day against Steven Gerrard’s league leaders.

"I got an explanation out of Bobby,” added McPake.

“I have a fantastic relationship with Bobby. In the end, he became unapproachable and said 'I am not speaking to you about it, I can't talk about an incident' and then you get the 'you missed the penalty anyway' shout. We know that, I watched it.

"Look, Jason Cummings was excellent when he came on. I was worried about putting him on so early because that boy's had Covid twice and he wasn't well through the week. Paul McMullan caused them all sorts of problems through the middle.

"It's the champions, the best team in the country and they will go away knowing they were in a hard game. We go away with nothing again, which is extremely frustrating, but I can't ask for any more effort. Quality maybe in certain areas of the pitch. We had other chances as well, so we can't put it down to the penalty.”

Dundee travel next to face Tayside rivals St Johnstone in their quest to drag themselves off the foot of the table.

And McPake is sure their luck will change if they keep playing like they did here against the champions.

He said: “Both sides made it a really entertaining game.

HeraldScotland:

“I feel like a broken record but we should have come out of the game with something.

“I am extremely proud of my players, the way they handled a very good side but gutted for them that they have come away with nothing.

“But if we carry on playing well I”m sure things will change for us.”

One plus for McPake is the fact that Leigh Griffiths’ injury doesn’t appear too serious after being replaced by Jason Cummings prior to half-time.

He said: “It’s Leigh’s ankle. It’s something that will have a chance to clear up over the next week or so.”