2 - 0
Nikica Jelavic (25)
Kyle Lafferty (29)
Lee McCulloch for Gregg Wylde (65)
El-Hadji Diouf for Nikica Jelavic (86)
Ricky Foster for Kyle Lafferty (90)
Jon Daly for Johnny Russell (46)
Prince Buaben for Scott Robertson (70)
Stuart Armstrong for David Robertson (75)
Calum Murray (Referee)
Hopes of securing third place in the SPL were dashed by two goals in a whirlwind opening by Rangers. Despite a spirited second half fight-back from United, Walter Smith's men held on to deliver him the perfect send off in his last home game in charge and keep them on course for the title and United for Europe! Only change in the United line up from the side that thumped Motherwell was David Robertson coming in for hat-trick Hero Jon Daly who dropped to the bench.
There was no doubt that both teams were up for the fight. But in the opening period the hosts looked just that shade sharper and more aggressive, with Nikica Jelavic missing a couple of chances and Kyle Lafferty striking the post even before the deadlock was broken. The opening goal arrived on 21 minutes with Nikica Jelavic heading Steven Whittaker's cross low into the net leaving Dusan Pernis with no chance. The second arrived just three minutes later when Kyle Lafferty drilled a low shot past the keeper after the ball broke to him at the right edge of the penalty area. With Rangers unable to sustain their early tempo the visitors looked increasingly dangerous, and just before the interval Allan McGregor required to scramble a Keith Watson cross away with Scott Robertson all set to head home.
United added an extra striker at half time - Daly - and continued to enjoy most of the possession and territory as the second period got underway. Rangers withdrew a striker and switched to a five man midfield - but still looked more likely to score on the break. However, having failed to kill the game off, the hosts looked increasingly nervy at the back as the game entered the final fifteen minutes. A Majid Boughera mistake allowed David Goodwillie to tee up Daly and his powerful volley forced McGregor into serious action for the first time. United were camped round Rangers penalty box and moments later McGregor was beaten by a superb 30 yard drive from young substitute Stuart Armstrong. But the ball rebounded back off the face of the keeper's right hand post - it signalled that this was not going to be United's night. Had the visitors got one back, it would have made for a grandstand finish. As it was. Rangers' early dominance just left United with too much to do.
Man of the Match: On a night when Rangers pace was such a factor, Keith Watson was equal to the task and kept the shackles on Gregg Wylde.
|Dušan Perniš (GK)||26||45||-||70||-|
|Prince Buaben (sub)||23||43||3||141||11|
|Stuart Armstrong (sub)||19||12||-||12||-|
|Jon Daly (sub)||28||37||11||115||35|
No league table has been added for this season.