Rangers held by Dundee Utd in thriller

Joe Aribo scores for Rangers against Dundee United
Joe Aribo fired Rangers level but they could not a winner at Tannadice

Rangers missed the chance to overtake Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic as Dundee United held the defending champions in a Tannadice thriller.

Ross Graham survived a penalty claim before nodding United in front.

Joe Aribo was denied with a header then leveled from Calvin Bassey’s cutback amid relentless second-half pressure.

Amad Diallo hit the post for the visitors but there was to be no winner, meaning Celtic can go three points clear if they beat Dundee later.

Thomas Courts’ United end the weekend fifth, in between Hibernian and Motherwell, with all three sides on the same points.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers, who beat Europa League hosts Borussia Dortmund 4-2 on Thursday, remain without an away league win in 2022.

In a breathless encounter, Rangers’ calls for a handball inside the United box were turned down after Charlie Mulgrew’s clearance connected with Graham’s outstretched arm. Replays suggested the visitors had a case.

Alfredo Morelos was then played in by Scott Arfield at the end of a swift counter-attack but could not get a shot away before goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist gathered.

Ilmari Niskanen sold three Rangers players a dummy and was only denied a goal by a James Tavernier deflection that took the ball inches wide.

The hosts grew in confidence and began to win corners, which proved to be Rangers’ undoing. Dylan Levitt crossed from the left and Graham outjumped Filip Helander to beat Allan McGregor. It was an early birthday present for the defender, who turns 21 on Wednesday.

United maintained their intensity early in the second period and Marc McNulty tested McGregor from Niskanen’s low cross.

Tavernier’s corner was headed powerfully towards goal by Aribo but Siegrist was alert with the save. Substitute Fashion Sakala claimed to have had his shirt tugged by Graham as he tried to score on the rebound.

Sakala improved Rangers as an attacking threat and his two low crosses in quick succession from the right could not be converted by Morelos, Siegrist saving the second chance.

On the other flank, Ryan Kent escaped his man and pressed with the final delivery inches away from the sliding Morelos.

But Rangers’ incessant pressure told when Kent’s pass released Bassey to the byeline and his low ball back was battered high into the net by Aribo.

Diallo had joined the visiting attack and almost scored when put through by Kent’s lob, his effort rattling the right-hand post. Kent retrieved possession and set up Ryan Jack but Mulgrew’s superb challenge averted the danger.

Sakala and Kent were off target with further efforts and Siegrist and Sakala needed treatment after they collided in added time.

There was one more nervous moment for Siegrist when another fierce Sakala cross clipped the crossbar.

Man of the match – Ilmari Niskanen

Ilmari Niskanen has a shot for Dundee United against Rangers
The winger (far right) was a persistent pest to the Rangers defense and unfortunate not to score

What did we learn?

Dundee United have been a thorn in Rangers’ side this season, having beaten them once already this term, and Courts clearly saw an avenue from set pieces that his side exploited.

Though many would argue Rangers created enough chances to win, the home side brought a lot to the game and were good value for their point.

Rangers’ struggles on the road continue with points now dropped away to Aberdeen, Ross County, Celtic and Dundee United since the winter break.

However, the fight they showed in the second half suggests they are not done with the title race.

What did they say?

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst told Sky Sports: “Disappointment that we did win. I don’t how many chances we created – I think the most chances we created this season to score. Eventually the chances have to be scored and that’s what didn’t do and that’s why we lost points.

“VAR will make it easier. These decisions that can be turning points, they can change the game but there’s no VAR so end of discussion. What can we do? There is no VAR. Every decision that the referee will make, it cannot be overturned, so we have to respect the decision he makes.”

What’s next?

Rangers play the return leg of their Europa League tie with Borussia Dortmund at Ibrox on Thursday (20:00 GMT). Dundee United visit Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday (15:00).


SmithLiam Smith

Dundee United

  1. squad numbertwoplayer nameSmith

  2. squad number7player nameNiskanen

  3. squad number1player nameSiegrist

  4. squad number29player nameGraham

  5. squad number4player namemulgrew

  6. squad number12player nameEdwards

  7. squad number32player namewatts

  8. squad number19player nameLevitt

  9. squad number9player nameMcNulty

  10. squad number18player nameButcher

  11. squad number22player nameFreeman

  12. squad number23player nameharks

  13. squad number10player nameClark


  1. squad number14player nameKent

  2. squad number8player nameJack

  3. squad number17player nameAyodele-Aribo

  4. squad number3player nameBassey

  5. squad number1player namemcgregor

  6. squad number4player nameLundstram

  7. squad numbertwoplayer nameTavernier

  8. squad number6player nameGoldson

  9. squad numbertwentyplayer nameMorelos

  10. squad number37player nameArfield

  11. squad number5player nameHelander

  12. squad number30player namesakala

  13. squad number9player nameDiallo


Dundee United

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Siegrist
  • 12EdwardsBooked at 31mins
  • 4mulgrew
  • 29GrahamBooked at 34mins
  • twoSmith
  • 23harks
  • 18ButcherSubstituted forFreemanat 78′minutes
  • 19Levitt
  • 7Niskanen
  • 32wattsBooked at 39minsSubstituted forClarkat 85′minutes
  • 9McNulty


  • 10Clark
  • 13Erikson
  • fifteenAkinola
  • 17Meekison
  • twentyNeilson
  • 22Freeman
  • 26Mochrie
  • 52Moore
  • 53Macleod


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1mcgregor
  • twoTavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5HelanderSubstituted forDialloat 73′minutes
  • 3Bassey
  • 8Jack
  • 4Lundstram
  • 37ArfieldSubstituted forsakalaat 58′minutes
  • 17Ayodele-Aribo
  • 14Kent
  • twentyMorelosBooked at 41mins


  • 9Diallo
  • 10Davis
  • 18Kamara
  • 19Sand’s
  • 22Zukowski
  • 25Roofe
  • 28McCrorie
  • 30sakala
  • 31barisic



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