Champions League dream over for Tangerines
Wed 2nd May 7.45pm
Dundee United's challenge for a Champions League qualifying place is finally over after a comprehensive 5-0 defeat at Rangers.
The Tangerines were three goals down inside twenty minutes when Steven Whittaker's opener was swiftly added to by a brace from Sone Alkuko. Jamie Ness and substitute Alejandro Bedoya further increased the tally following the break.
Garry Kenneth earlier sent a free-kick through the defensive wall for the visitors that was pushed aside by Allan McGregor before his header from the subsequent corner was eventually cleared. But Whittaker soon curled a finish inside the far post from around sixteen-yards to earn Rangers a rapid sixth-minute lead.
However, Gary Mackay-Steven quickly saw an attempt turned over by McGregor at the opposite end before Kenneth missed a through ball and Aluko went beyond Sean Dillon after receving from Salim Kerkar to double the advantage.
Three minutes later John Rankin's weak backpass allowed the pair to link up again and Aluko duly made it 3-0. It could have been even worse for the Taysiders before the break had not Dusan Pernis saved well at close-range from Lee Wallace.
The visitors made changes at the interval but it was still Pernis denying both Maurice Edu and Aluko until midfielder Ness finished strongly on 57 minutes to increase the lead.
Substitute Bedoya later completed the scoring when sidefooting in number five following Edu's pass shortly before the end.
The result leaves United now purely focusing on keeping hold of fourth place in the table and an opportunity in the Europa League next season.
Rangers: McGregor, Goian, Wallace, Whittaker, Bocanegra, Bartley, Edu, Aluko (Bedoya 75), Ness (Broadfoot 61), McCabe, Kerkar (McCulloch 81)
subs (unused): Alexander, Perry, A. Mitchell, Healy
Goals: Whittaker (6), Aluko (17, 20), Ness (57), Bedoya (84)
Dundee United: Pernis, Neilson, Dillon, Kenneth (Watson 46), Dixon, Flood, Robertson, Rankin, Mackay-Steven (Douglas 46), Daly, Russell (Dow 76)
subs (unused): Banks, Ryan, Swanson, Armstrong