United compound Rangers misery
Rangers' woes show no signing of subsiding after they went down 2-1 to Dundee United in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Tannadice.
The administration-hit and makeshift Ibrox side, weakened by injury and suspension, found themselves two down following United defender Keith Watson's wonderful first-half drive and a Jon Daly goal soon after the break.
A deflected strike by Rangers substitute Sone Aluko, on for debutant Andrew Mitchell, off John Rankin, brought the visitors back into the game but it proved to be a mere consolation for a club whose season is in danger of becoming traumatic on as well as off the park.
While the Ibrox club continue to search for a new owner, manager Ally McCoist has to somehow see out the season in a positive mode and his task was made no easier with six defenders missing for the trip to Tayside.
The Govan men looked disjointed in the early stages with Andrew Little playing the lone striker's role but there was plenty of tenacious enthusiasm. As confidence grew slowly, skipper Steven Davis tested Tannadice keeper Dusan Pernis in the 12th minute with a fine left-footed drive, after taking a Little pass but the home side defended the corner.
With 37 minutes gone, Paul Dixon's throw-in from the left was headed out by Lee McCulloch but only to Watson at the edge of the box and he fired high past Allan McGregor with a glorious strike.
With with less than two minutes played of the second-half, and after United striker Johnny Russell had missed the target with a drive, the home side doubled their lead. Winger Gary Mackay-Steven raced past Rhys McCabe all too easily and when his cross came in to the box skipper Daly efficiently knocked it past McGregor from close range.
But in the 59th minute the visitors were handed a lifeline when Aluko survived a couple of poor tackles near the by-line before his shot from a tight angle was deflected off Rankin and over Pernis. Rangers had regained their earlier enthusiasm although United still looked the more composed of the two teams.
In the 73rd minute a Little volley from a Davis pass went straight to Pernis before Maurice Edu appeared to lash back with his arm at Scott Robertson as he tried to hold the United midfielder off but referee Brian Winter appeared to miss the incident despite being well-placed.
In the fraught closing stages Rangers pressed valiantly for the equaliser but Pernis was never put under any real pressure, leaving United to take the points.