Dundee United 2 Rangers 3
Rangers Under 19’s secured a more comfortable win than the scoreline suggests at St. Andrews this afternoon, although United’s second goal meant an edgy closing nine minutes. With Kyle McAusland suspended and Kim Skogsrud on international duty it meant a reshuffle in defence with Luca Gasparrotto coming in to partner Adel Gafaiti.
Rangers started brightly and when Marc Dyer was fouled on the left hand angle of the box Barrie McKay tested Phillip Anderson from the free kick which the keeper saved low to his left. Two minutes later Kamil Wiktorski tried his luck from fully thirty-five yards and only just cleared the United crossbar.
Anderson was again in action after five minutes, Tom Skogsrud passed the ball forward to Dyer and the home keeper held his effort from wide on the left just under the bar. Rangers pressure was to tell when they took the lead on ten minutes, McKay had possession wide on the right and passed inside to Wiktorski who found Dyer breaking into the box, Anderson dived to his left to parry his shot but Callum Gallagher was on hand to knock the ball into the net.
Three minutes later Rangers came close to doubling their lead, McKay cut in from the right and his shot took a double deflection off two United defenders before looping over Anderson and crashing off the crossbar. The home side then equalised with their first meaningful attack of the game, Gafaiti was hesitant allowing Ryan Ferguson to break towards Rangers penalty area before playing in Shane Campbell to shoot past Alan Smith.
Rangers were soon back on attack, and when Gallagher challenged for a Skogsrud cross the ball broke to Nikolaj Kohlert who’s net bound shot was deflected wide. From the resultant corner the ball broke to Josh Robinson and his shot was headed off the line, the United defence managed to clear their area but only as far as McKay who was only just wide from the edge of the box. Midway through the half United came close to taking the lead, former Ranger Michael Noble’s free-kick from the right hand angle of the box had Smith beaten as it came back off the bar, in the ensuing scramble Alan Smith produced two fantastic point-blank saves before the Rangers defence scrambled clear.
Eight minutes before the break Anderson dropped Skogsrud corner from the right, with the ball bouncing a yard from the goal line and several Rangers players close by a goal looked certain before a United defender appeared to hook the ball over the crossbar. This time the corner was from the right and Lewis McLeod’s delivery was perfect for Luca Gasparotto to rise and head into the top corner.
Half-Time:-Dundee United 1 Rangers 2
United almost caught Rangers cold in the opening minute after the break, Gafaiti was again hesitant this time in dealing with a long ball allowing Ferguson in on goal to knock the ball past the advancing Smith, but Gaparotto had time to get back and clear. Rangers then increased their lead six minutes later, following a throw in on the left Skogrud’s ball into the box from the left saw Barrie McKay beat the hesitant Anderson to the ball and roll it into the empty net.
A minute later Robinson played the ball forward to Gallagher and a superb touch and turn took him clear of the defence only to drag his shot across goal and wide. The Rangers striker then had another chance latching onto a Kohlert ball over the top , the result being the same, dragging his shot across goal and wide.
As the final ten minutes approached McKay chased the ball on the left before taking on Ross Gilmour and testing Anderson. A flowing move then created another chance, McLeod and McKay working a one-two on the left before McKay passed inside to Wiktorski who had Anderson diving low to save. From the keeper’s clearance United got back into the match, Gasparotto failed to deal with the long ball and keeper Smith advanced to find himself in no mans land, the United substitute Glenn Hawe heading over the keeper into the empty net.
In a game they had been in control of the Ibrox youngsters were now hanging on as the game entered the final minute, from a throw down near the byline on the left Robert Thomson managed to turn and Smith blocked his shot from a narrow angle with his legs, from the corner the Rangers defence failed to clear and McLeod had to clear a goal bound shot from the line. Rangers still had time to have a good shout for a penalty, a solo run from the tireless Gallagher saw him go past a couple of defenders before going down under a challenge, the referee appeared to be about to point to the spot before waving play on.
Full-Time:- Dundee United 2 Rangers 3
Dundee United:- Phillip Anderson; Ross Gilmour, Jim Thomson, John Young, Michael Noble; Ryan Ferguson (Craig Bell 80mins), Scott Smith, Jordan Moore (Glenn Hawe 61mins), Ryan Lundie, Robert Thomson; Shane Campbell (Ryan Gauld 64mins)
Not Used:- John Soutar,
Rangers:- Alan Smith; Josh Robinson, Luca Gasparotto, Adel Gafaiti, Tom Skogsrud; Barrie McKay, Nikolaj Kohlert (Adam Hunter 76mins), Kamil Wiktorski, Lewis McLeod, Marc Dyer (Ewan McNeil 61mins); Callum Gallagher
Not Used:- Blair Currie (GK), Sam McMahon, Jack Werndly, Aaron McGregor, Robbie McIntyre.