Shambolic Rangers Pay The Price At Tannadice - Dundee United 2 (Kerr 30, McLaren 33) Rangers 0
Dundee United 2 (Kerr 30, McLaren 33) Rangers 0
It was truly an abomination of a performance from
Rangers who are now fully paying the penalty for
years of financial mismanagement.
Manager Alex McLeish made three changes from last week
with Michael Ball, Craig Moore and Michael Mols
replacing Maurice Ross and astonishingly both Henning
Berg and Shota Arveladze. United fielded three
ex-Rangers players in Derek McInnes, Charlie Miller
and Barry Robson.
Rangers looked the likelier outfit in the opening
stages with Ronald De Boer’s runs posing problems for
the home defence.
Mikel Arteta was inches away from opening the scoring
in 21 minutes when his left-foot drive from a Nuno
Capucho cross was deflected onto an upright.
The opening goal when it arrived came on the
half-hour, but at the other end when Mark Kerr rifled
the ball into the roof of the net after Mark Wilson’s
cross had been headed into his path by Jim McIntyre.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 when a Barry Robson
corner found Andy McLaren unmarked at the far post
just one yard from goal. A simple header underlined
the utter shambles of the Ibrox defence.
Rangers tried to respond immediately – Frank De Boer’s
twenty-yard free-kick was certainly net-bound, but was
deflected wide by Chris Innes.
Nevertheless it was United who finished the half on
top, and the Light Blues were fortunate not to concede
a third goal in 41 minutes when McLaren’s left-foot
shot struck the crossbar.
Desperate times require desperate measures – yet Alex
McLeish could only make a maximum of three
substitutions when perhaps eight were required. In the
event he limited himself to two – replacing Emerson
and Arteta with Maurice Ross and Steven Thompson, then
eleven minutes into the second-half there was a
welcome return for Gavin Rae who replaced Christian
Despite trailing by two goals it was not until the
73rd minute that the Ibrox men threatened United’s
goal – Michael Mols’ drive from a Thompson lay-off
hitting the side-net.
Sixty seconds later the same combination saw
Thompson’s shot on the turn from a Mols lay-off
Craig Moore – a liability in any event – spent the
closing stages limping badly following a clash with
Barry Robson. With all three substitutes already used
there was no alternative.
United goalkeeper Paul Gallacher had perhaps his first
save to make in 83 minutes when Ronald De Boer
released Ross down the right, his cross being touched
away from the inrushing Thompson by the goalkeeper.
Seconds later Ranger had a strong penalty claim denied
when Mols, homing in on a Ronald De Boer flick, was
pulled back by David McCracken.
Time eventually ran out on the visitors however –
indeed in the dying seconds former Ranger Robson might
have made it 3-0 from a McLaren cross only to be
denied by a superb save from Stefan Klos.
The day was United’s nevertheless – and only served to
emphasise the utter shambles that is the present Ibrox
Alex McLeish afterwards lamented:
“This was an inexplicable performance. We started
well, but bad habits invite trouble. No outfield
player can say they did themselves justice, and no-one
can complain if I leave them out next week.”
Mind you, McLeish might offer an explanation as to why
he left out Henning Berg and Shota Arveladze – and why
he persists in the defensive albatross that is his
DUNDEE UNITED Gallacher; Wilson, McCracken, Innes,
Archibald; Kerr, McInnes, Miller, Robson; McLaren,
UNUSED SUBS Jarvie, Samuel, Duff, Easton, Scotland
RANGERS Klos; Ricksen, F. De Boer, Moore, Ball;
Capucho, Emerson (Ross 45), Arteta (Thompson 45),
Nerlinger (Rae 56); Mols, R. De Boer
UNUSED SUBS McGregor,
REFEREE John Underhill