Last-Minute Drama At Tannadice
point for Rangers at Tannadice today - but it was a
most unimpressive display from the Light Blues, now
level on points with Celtic who however have the
chance to go three points clear against Livingston
Manager Alex McLeish made two changes from last Monday
with Alex Rae and Steven Thompson replacing Dragan
Mladenovic and the suspended Nacho Novo against a home
side containing three former Rangers players, namely
Paul Ritchie, Derek McInnes and Barry Robson.
Rangers went into today's Ne'erday fixture, the club's
first since 1994, knowing that they had failed to
defeat Dundee United in the last three meetings
between the two sides.
The Ibrox legions had travelled in force to Dundee,
despite the ludicrousness fixture scheduling that
arranged this date and the departure of Jean-Alain
Boumsong in one of the great acts of betrayal of
modern times by both the player and his agent Willie
A heavy rainstorm twenty minutes before kick-off sent
many of the players, warming up on the pitch,
scurrying for shelter - underlining the dreich nature
of the afternoon.
A one-minute silence in memory of the victims of the
Indian Ocean Disaster was immaculately observed prior
Rangers almost snatched an early lead in three minutes
when Shota Arveladze's header from a Dado Prso cross
was just wide of the target.
Seven minutes later however United took the lead in
their first attack when, following a Mark Wilson
corner a McInnes cross was bulleted home by David
The New Year had clearly brought some of the visitors'
failings with it - the loss of an early goal - and
there was a worrying lack of response from the Light
Alex Rae almost levelled matters in 21 minutes when he
scooped a Thompson header over following an Alan
Six minutes later United again had the ball in the net
when Jim McIntyre netted from a Robson cross only for
the goal to be disallowed for offside.
Rangers cranked up the pressure as the interval
approached - Prso's header from a Fernando Ricksen
cross being inches wide in 38 minutes.
Three minutes later Arveladze netted from a Zurab
Khizanishvili through-ball only for a linesman's flag
to signal offside, a decision that television was to
prove to be incorrect.
In the dying seconds of the half Alex Rae, through on
a Thompson pass, saw his low drive deflected wide by
the legs of home goalkeeper Tony Bullock.
It was United who almost doubled their lead three
minutes after the restart when a 25-yard shot from
McInnes was held by Klos, then sixty seconds later the
Ibrox defence was sliced open when Jamie Grady's
cutback found McIntyre whose shot was parried by Klos
- the rebound falling to Grant Brebner who with no
time to control the ball sent it wide.
Immediately thereafter at the other end a low
Arveladze cross was inches away from the inrushing
The miss of the match in 63 minutes saw a Ricksen
corner completely missed in mid-air by Prso.
Namouchi replaced Arveladze two minutes later as
Rangers struggled to make a breakthrough, almost
making an immediate impact when Bullock blocked his
United looked just as likely to snatch a second
however - Robson, clean through from a Grady pass,
shot straight at Klos, then saw his 25-yard shot being
tipped over by his former colleague on seventy
Two minutes later the selfsame Robson, scorer of
United's last-minute equaliser at Ibrox on October 24,
almost netted directly from a corner - the ball being
scrambled off the line by Vignal.
Rangers piled on the pressure as the minutes ticked
away - Bullock denying Ricksen from a 25-yard
free-kick when he touched the ball wide.
The goalkeeper again rescued his side with just two
minutes left on the clock when he turned a Prso header
over from Gregory Vignal's cross.
United appeared home and dry - but there was one more
twist in the tail when, with Klos up for a Ricksen
corner in the dying seconds, the ball being
back-headed by Namouchi into the net.
It was a dramatic finish - and a vital point - but the
blunt truth is that this was an abysmal performance
from the Light Blues.
Alex McLeish afterwards conceded:
"We got out of jail today. We were staring defeat in
the face, but we threw everything forward in the
second-half. We had enough chances to win several
games, but we make things difficult for ourselves. We
missed Nacho Novo."
DUNDEE UNITED Bullock; Wilson, McCracken, Ritchie,
Archibald; Kerr, McInnes, Brebner, Robson; McIntyre,
UNUSED SUBS Jarvie, Samuel, Dodds, Scotland, Innes,
RANGERS Klos; Hutton, Andrews, Khizanishvili, Vignal;
Ricksen, A. Rae, Malcolm, Arveladze (Namouchi 65);
UNUSED SUBS G. Smith, Mladenovic, Ross, Hughes,
McLean, S. Smith
REFEREE Mike McCurry