Writer: Vital Arabs
Date:Sunday February 5 2012
Sun 5th Feb 12.15pm
Dundee United produced a magnificent display to knock troubled Rangers out of the Scottish Cup at Ibrox.
The visitors never looked back after the outstanding Gavin Gunning thumped home an unstoppable header from Gary Mackay-Steven's whipped cross on sixteen minutes.
Fine approach work from Paul Dixon in combination with Mackay-Steven then allowed Johnny Russell to further stun the home support with a second goal ten minutes before the break.
Russell actually had the ball in the net during the opening stages but referee Willie Collum penalised skipper Jon Daly's challenge on Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
However, McGregor soon went full-length to parry aside Dixon's swerving shot before the visitors opened the scoring when Mackay-Steven's subsequent corner from the right was immediately returned by John Rankin from the opposite flank. Mackay-Steven then duly collected again and crossed perfectly for Gunning to crash a fierce header past McGregor - directly in front of the celebrating United fans.
Rangers actually responded well to that setback, in particular their Nigerian playmaker Sone Aluko, who always looked their most likely source of reward as he displayed when having a firmly-struck shot superbly fended away by Dusan Pernis.
The Slovakian international keeper's next stop was even better though as he scrambled low to his right to force behind a sidefooted David Healy effort which appeared destined for the bottom corner.
But it was the visitors who were to extend their lead on 35 minutes as the impressive Dixon advanced and exchanged passes down the left with Mackay-Steven before Russell chipped adeptly over the advancing McGregor from eight-yards.
Kyle Bartley headed straight at Pernis from a Steven Davis delivery as Rangers chased an immediate reply before the interval. But their opponents were defending superbly with the magnificent Gunning always well-supported by his colleagues at the back.
Home midfielder Aluko had an effort deflected behind by the tenacious block of Rankin early in the second-half, although the visitors should really have added a third goal when Daly challenged at a Dixon free-kick and the unmarked Garry Kenneth headed straight at McGregor.
Rangers manager Ally McCoist made his full complement of changes while his players continued to collect bookings on a regular basis as they struggled to cope with the pace and directness of the lively Mackay-Steven.
Substitute Andrew Little did scoop a chance wide for them after good work from Aluko, who later drove speculatively over after Rankin's dipping attempt forced more prompt action from McGregor at the opposite end.
The visitors introduced new signing Milos Lacny late on and he was soon involved in a sliding challenge with keeper McGregor that ended with both players being cautioned.
But nothing was going to spoil a tremendous team display as United eased comfortably through to the last eight of the competition and heaped more misery on their vanquished opponents.
Rangers: McGregor, Goian, Papac (Wylde 69), Wallace, Bocanegra, Bartley, Edu, Davis, Aluko, Celik (Kerkar 45), Healy (Little 60)
subs (unused): Alexander, McCulloch
Dundee United: Pernis, Neilson, Kenneth, Gunning (Dillon 90), Dixon, Robertson, Rankin, Armstrong (Flood 76), Mackay-Steven (Lacny 88), Daly, Russell
subs (unused): Banks, Ryan
Goals: Gunning (16), Russell (35)
Ref: W. Collum
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Date:Sunday February 5 2012
|St. Johnstone||3||-||0||Dundee United|
|St. Mirren||4||-||1||Dundee United|
|Dundee United||1||-||0||Ross County|
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|6. St. Johnstone||27||10||5||12||3||35|
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