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06 June 2023

Cup gloom for Rangers at hands of Dundee United


Rangers crashed out of the Scottish Cup as they produced a lacklustre display in a 2-0 defeat by a determined Dundee United side in their fifth round clash at Ibrox on Saturday.

With the sale of Nikica Jelavic to Everton in midweek all the focus before the game was on the Rangers forward line but it was United's attackers who dominated the headlines with an impressive first-half display.

Jonny Russell had an effort ruled out as early as the second minute when Jon Daly was adjudged to have fouled keeper Allan McGregor in the build-up before Gavin Gunning headed United into a 15th minute lead.

Sone Aluko and David Healy came close to an equaliser for Rangers before Jonny Russell doubled United's advantage in the 35th minute when he finished a flowing move.

Rangers manager Ally McCoist used all three substitutes in an attempt to find a way back into the game, which saw both sides pick up five bookings apiece as tempers flared, but keeper Dusan Pernis didn't have a save to make in a quiet second half.

It is the second time in three years United have knocked the Glasgow giants out of the competition and Peter Houston's side will join treble-chasing Celtic, who dispatched Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their match on Saturday, in Monday's quarter-final draw.

At Ibrox, Dundee United sensed Rangers were vulnerable and immediately went on the attack.

Within two minutes Russell had the ball in the net after McGregor spilled it in a collision with Daly but referee Willie Collum ruled it had been a foul on the keeper.

Daly then tried his luck from long range after spotting McGregor off his line but the keeper recovered to stop it before Dorin Goian made an important block to stop Russell's shot after he cut in from the left.

United took a deserved lead in the 15th minute after some intense pressure saw Gunning get on the end of Gary MacKay-Steven's cross to bullet a header past McGregor in off the underside of the bar.

Rangers then surged forward looking for an equaliser and Aluko showed great skill to get away from Garry Kenneth in the box but his fierce strike was tipped away by Pernis.

United had their keeper to thank again in the 25th minute when Healy's angled shot from the edge of the box looked to be heading in before the keeper made a fingertip save to turn it round the post.

Rangers seemed to be warming to the task before United doubled their advantage following a free flowing move in the 35th minute.

Paul Dixon and MacKay-Steven combined before Dixon played in Russell who lifted the ball over the outrushing McGregor and into the roof of the net.

Salim Kerkar replaced the ineffectual Mervan Cellik at the break and the Algerian immediately set up Healy for a chance but his run was halted by Kenneth.

Aluko then saw his rasping shot diverted wide by John Rankin.

Andrew Little and Gregg Wylde then came on and the former should have done better when Aluko found him in the six yard box but the Northern Irish man sliced his shot well over.

It was United who came closest to another goal when Rankin's shot from range stung the palms of McGregor late on as Rangers exited their second cup competition of the season.