2 - 0
League (Premier Division)
Gordon Dalziel (10)
Davie Cooper (85)
Frank Kopel for Iain Phillip
John Reilly for John Holt
Douglas Downie (Edinburgh) (Referee)
Fixture congestion took United to Ibrox at a mere 48 hour notice, after the severe weather had again taken a swipe at the scheduled card. Our sixth consecutive match had been wiped out with the conditions, this time the Dundee derby at Tannadice. With Rangers' tie at Love Street also falling foul of the weather, the Scottish League decided to rearrange this match in Glasgow in an attempt to relieve pressure on the upcoming schedule, which included Scottish Cup ties and United's continued European action. The under-soil heating at Ibrox ensured Rangers had seen plenty of match practice, but, for United, it was their first competitive outing for over a month.
It showed too as Gordon Dalziel put Rangers ahead with a diving header from a free kick after only ten minutes. United took a long time to get their rhythm going, but were nearly back in it when Paul Sturrock, who had recovered in time from a throat infection to play, went close with a glancing header from a John Holt cross. After a series of fouls and bookings, United came agonisingly close to equalising in the 26th minute, when an Eamonn Bannon free-kick was missed by both Sturrock and Dodds, and Stewart could only watch as the ball went only inches past the left hand post. John Holt, who had earlier had a header saved by Stewart, had another header cleared off the line by Sandy Jardine. Jim Bett was lucky not to be sent off after a lunge on Dodds having already been booked. The rest of the first half saw plenty more fouls, and a few chances without either side coming too close to scoring.
United were now looking the team more likely to score, and when Ally Dawson was short with a pass back Dodds was through, however Stewart raced from his line to dive at the strikers feet. As United pushed for an equaliser, the second goal arrived in extremely controversial circumstances. Paul Sturrock turned and hit a netbound shot which was stopped by Gregor Steven's arms before being cleared. As the United players appealed to the referee, Mr Downie waved play on, ignoring the linesmans' raised flag. As Rangers broke away against the remaining defenders who were not protesting, John MacDonald cut the ball back for Davie Cooper who calmly knocked the ball past McAlpine. United continued their protests, and the referee eventually went to consult his linesman, but after a brief chat the goal was given and United left Glasgow pointless.
|Hamish McAlpine (GK)||33||30||-||497||3|
|Frank Kopel (sub)||32||17||-||407||13|
|John Reilly (sub)||19||5||1||7||1|
|League results since United's last match|
|12th December 1981|
|19th December 1981|
|2nd January 1982|
|3rd January 1982|
|9th January 1982|
|16th January 1982|