Two goals in three minutes played a huge part in Dundee United’s downfall against Rangers as they lost 4-1 at Ibrox.
The Arabs had managed the opening stages of this game well against the Premiership leaders but Ianis Hagi and Ryan Kent goals before half-time all but secured a Rangers victory. Joe Aribo and Alfredo Morelos scored in the second half as Micky Mellon’s side remain one point outside the top six.
This game was quickly whisked away from Dundee United. First it was Hagi 10 minutes before half-time, Aribo shuffling on the edge of the box before firing a shot towards goal, deflecting off his Romanian teammate and beyond Benjamin Siegrist.
It was 2-0 a few minutes later as Kent found space on the edge of the box, his effort deflecting off Ryan Edwards to beat Siegrist. It was a quickfire double that deflated United after a half of promise and the game was over two minutes into the second 45 as Aribo blasted an effort into the top corner.
Before that they were tenacious, looking the fresher of the two sides. They had eight days to rest and prepare from their 3-0 win over Livingston prior to this while Rangers had played away in Europe against Royal Antwerp less than 72 hours previous.
It was clear that was the case early doors as Mellon’s men were able to do a bit more running, Lawrence Shankland an effective contributor. But they had only managed a few shots on target with Allan McGregor fairly comfortable in the Gers net.
All their effort was for nothing come 48 minutes as it became a case of damage limitation in the second half. Having not performed all that badly, to be 3-0 down was a blow for Mellon. But with a bit of luck and skill, Rangers had marched ahead.
It was a light blue procession after their third as the game was played in the Tangerine half, Morelos next on the scoresheet as Siegrist botched a clearance off the Colombian and into the net. The keeper made up for that with 20 minutes to go as Siegrist saved Borna Barisic’s penalty following a Jeando Fuchs foul on Morelos.
While they did start well in this fixture, Dundee United eventually fell flat and were punished for doing so at Ibrox. Marc McNulty did get a nice consolation four minutes from time but that’s all it was. Here are three things we learned from the Premiership clash.
How things change
United made this very tough for Rangers in the first 30 minutes and it appeared as if Mellon’s plan of frustrating the home side was working. But once Steven Gerrard’s side kicked it up a gear, this became a different story.
Their first two goals may have been fortuitous but it put them in the ascendency as Dundee United were left trailing in the home side’s wake.
Still in the mix
This result has had little bearing on the top six chase for United. They haven’t lost too much ground on sixth place St Mirren this weekend, the Buddies held 1-1 at home by Livingston.
Dundee United now have Kilmarnock at Rugby Park before matches against Celtic and Aberdeen prior to the split.
Mellon said pre-match that this test would be a gauge of where his side are at present. Dundee United were swept aside 4-0 last time out at Ibrox and the scoreline didn’t change all that much from the last fixture.
United showed their potential in the first 30 minutes but after the quickfire Rangers goals, there only looked to be one winner. Mellon will be disappointed with his side’s response to going behind.
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