With a number of players away on international duty it was a very young Rangers side picked by coach Graeme Murty for the trip to Tannadice. The hosts experience shone through as they were able to pick off Murty’s side and pick up a commanding win.
It was the young Gers who had the first real chance when Amin Bouzaig was brought down on the edge of the penalty area but Josh Jeffries couldn’t bring his curling free-kick down quick enough.
The opening ten minutes saw Rangers take the game to their hosts as they looked to take an early lead but couldn’t make their early dominance count.
With just over twenty minutes on the clock Dundee United took the lead. A quick break saw the ball come to Louis Appere in the penalty area and the midfielder swept home from 11 yards.
The visitors tried to immediately reduce the deficit and Josh Jeffries’ long-range strike just whistled over the bar. In a first half which started off brightly and quickly got very scrappy, it was Rangers’ best opportunity.
Just a few minutes before the break Dundee United were awarded a penalty for a foul by Lewis White on the goalscorer Appere. Brad Smith stepped up and put his spot-kick straight down the middle to double his side’s lead.
Sam Jamieson had a chance to bring Rangers back into thte game just minutes into the second half when Ross Lyon’s delightful bass found Jamieson in space by United ‘keeper Brett Long done well to react and keep it out.
Kieran Wright kept Rangers in with any chance of salvaging something from the game when he made a fantastic low save to deny Matty Smith after the forward mugged David Bates for possession on the edge of the penalty area.
With just over an hour gone Dundee United made it three when Coll Donaldson rose unchallenged to head home from Hornby’s excellent delivery and leave Wright with no chance. Rangers immediately responded and introduced Ursene Mouanda at the expense of Jamie Barjonas.
The second half will not make for pleasant viewing when Craig Mulholland and Graeme Murty look back through tonight’s game. The light blues were second to nearly every ball in the second period and couldn’t get a grip on the game whatsoever.
United made it four in the dying seconds when Jordan Garden fired home.
On the upside, last week’s abandoned clash with Hibs, which Rangers were leading 2-1 at half-time has been awarded to Rangers as a win.
Dundee United: Brett Long, Cammy Ballantyne, Coll Donaldson, Jamie Robson, Jordan Hornby; Louis Appere, Scott Allardice, Brad Smith, Graham Taylor; Matty Smith, Jordan Garden.
Subs: Gavin Ritchie, Josh Donaldson, Scott Reekie, Aaron Murrell, Logan Chalmers, Dominic McMeekin, Dilan Paterson
Goals: Appere 23’, Brad Smith 42’ (pen), Donaldson 65’, Garden 90
Rangers: Kieran Wright, Kyle Bradley, David Bates, Aidan Wilson, Lewis White; Jamie Barjonas, Max Ashmore, Ross Lyon; Josh Jeffries, Amin Bouzaig, Sam Jamieson.
Subs: Ursene Mouanda, Andrew Dallas, Jordan Gibson, Brian Kinnear