Rangers came to Tannadice with two missions on Sunday 02-04-2006. The first and most important mission was to secure 3 points in the chase for second place against Hearts. The second and maybe less important mission was to get a win at Tannadice for the first time since 6th December 2003.
Referee Underhill got the game underway and Rangers kicked off. The game itself started off at a good pace and the early exchanges were equal and although Rangers had the most of the early possession, it was end to end stuff.
Rangers started off brightly enough with a Lovenkrands free kick in the first minute, which was scrambled, Rangers kept sustained pressure and Buffel hit a shot that was both high and wide.
Rangers had learned little from their recent scrutiny with UEFA about the dubious songs they sing and as early as the 4th minute we were hearing such old favourites as Derry?s Walls!. I do hope that the majority of decent Rangers fans who read this do start rooting out this evil of your support.
United found it difficult to spring the Rangers offside trap and as early as the 6th minute Miller was caught offside when clean through. The early pressure from United saw Fernandez working down both flanks and doing some great work distributing the ball behind the main striker.
In the 7th minute disaster nearly struck for United when Stillie misdirected a back pass straight to Buffel, Buffel raced in on goal and shot over the bar. United had a lucky escape and despite the early fright continued to press Rangers and try to get the opening goal. United were awarded a free kick in the 9th minute taken by Garry Kenneth, the cross come shot went straight in the hands of the Rangers keeper.
At this point Rangers started to get the edge and started to come more into the game and for the next 5 or so minutes both sides really nullifying each other. It was really end to end stuff and both sides looked like breaking the deadlock.
Miller fell awkwardly on the 15th minute mark after tumbling with Barry Ferguson. Left the field but returned to play after some redial work on his arm.
There was a slight controversy in the 18th minute when the ball struck Barry Robson on the chest, the Rangers players were claiming handball, but the referee quite correctly waved play on and the ball went out for a throw in.
United quickly identified Lovenkrands as a danger man and Mulgrew kept a close marker on him throughout the afternoon.
Both teams were attacking and within the next few minutes both goalmouths seen some action. In the 20th minute Boyd?s shot was deflected off Mair for a corner, this was cleared by United and Robson went down the win flighted a ball in and Hutton cleared. It was that type of game.
Rangers continued to press and in the 25th minute Rangers hit the post after a corner was headed in, this was cleared by United.
In the 27th minute United came close when a Fernandez cross was driven low and just missed my Mcinnes, I was praying for an extra inch on the studs I was telling you.
This end to end play continued until on the 29th minute Dado Prso beat McCracken on the outside, then came inside and rifled a shot from about 25 yards and scored the opening goal.
United 0 – Rangers 1
nited really had to attack now and what happened next can only be described as calamitous. McCracken loses the ball on the halfway line, Prso takes the ball downfield, split?s the United defence with a pass into the centre to Kris Boyd, Boyd shoots an unstoppable drive into the Right hand part of the goal to make it 2-0 to Rangers.
United 0 – Rangers 2
United?s defence all at seas and within the space of two minutes find themselves 2 goals down and a proverbial mountain to climb in order to even get a point from this game. United had equalled Rangers in terms of attacking, Rangers had slightly more possession at this point but not enough to justify a two goal lead. United were more guilty at losing goals and Rangers took their opportunities.
United took this as a spark to get attacking and had it not been for a Robson mis-timed header then United may have pegged one back on the 32nd minute mark.
Rangers continued to look for that 3rd goal that would ultimately kill off the game before half time. Prso shot both high and wide in 34th minute.
United continued to press to get back into the game and within a minute Samuel had a weak header saved by Watteraus and a shot turned behind for a corner, Samuel playing as he usually does in bursts was causing the Rangers defence some issues.
On the 40th minute Rangers again claimed for handball when Kenneth fell onto the ball in the box after being beaten by Prso. Dado spat the dummy and kicked the ball into the crowd whilst complaining profusely.
Rangers almost made it 3 on the 44th minute when Buffel put Boyd clean through and blasted the ball high into the East stand.
Overall, was a disappointing display by United?s defence in the first half. The ball was given away too cheaply and Rangers were far willing to take advantage of the chances they were given. Not entirely convinced at half time that Rangers were good enough to be 2 goals ahead, but if you give guys like Prso and Boyd the space to come at you, you have to expect the shots to go on target. One of the major differences between the sides has been Buffel. He has the ability to carve open a defence with a single pass. Had it not been for shoddy defence by United it would be difficult to see who was 3rd in the league and who was 9th.
United kick off in the second half and the first attack peters out, Rangers go back on the attack and Prso wins Rangers a corner and tries to exert some sustained pressure on United in order to get the 3rd goal and finish off the game.
United had a controversial moment on the 50th minute when Fernandez put a long-field pass to the right to Mulgrew, he crosses it over to Samuel who is clear in the box about 8 yards out, Rodriguez pulls him down as he is about to shoot and the referee is far too far back to observe it and denies United a stonewall penalty.
United continue to attack and shortly after a free kick by Robson, Samuel exacts revenge on Rodriguez by standing on his heel and Rodriguez goes over on himself and falls onto the track.
On the 54th Minute the game ceased to be a contest as Prso beats McCracken twice and puts in a low cross to Boyd to put home at the Shed end.
United 0 – Rangers 3
Rangers could have made it 4 as Ferguson took the ball off Robson and placed the ball into Boyd who was in the clear and it was well saved by Stillie just two minutes after the third goal was scored.
Robson tries to attack the Rangers defence with a wild shot, then Rangers continue to press and after 4 corners in a row United get a break in play when Robson is adjudged to foul Ferguson. This was flighted in but offside given against Kyrgiakos. So we have an hour played and there seems no hope for United.
United attack a minute later when Mulgrew races down the left wing and puts it in for Samuel who shoots twice, the first shot parried by Watteraus and the second shot hit the side netting.
Buffel again showed his class on the 63rd minute when he put Lovenkrads trough for a right handed shot which was saved by Stillie.
An example of how quickly paced this game was is evident in the 65 minute when United took a corner and it was cleared to Ferguson who makes his last contribution to the afternoon by passing to Lovenkrands who hit the side netting.
Barry Ferguson then departs to make way for Gavin Rae (66 mins)
United make their comback complete when a long ball is played through to Samuel, who is facing away from goal, turns and puts the ball home in the East stand goal to give the United fans something to cheer about on the 66th Minute.
United 1 – Rangers 3
United were again on the back foot as Buffel passed to Boyd at the right hand side of the goal, Boyd hit?s the back post .
Duff replaces McInnes on 71 minutes.
On 72 McCracken lashes out in frustration at Prso who has been beating him all day. Free kick awarded to Rangers.
The referee stopped the game on the 74th minute as was concerned about a whistle in the crowd, the referee continued to point towards the East Stand but the game continues. Kenneth seems to switch with McCracken and is more effective at dealing with Prso than McCracken.
We continued with end to end stuff with both sides having missed chances until the 83rd minute when Rangers pt a corner in, ball comes to Boyd who fires it goal wards (through Prso?s legs also) to make it 4-1 to Rangers and sent all three points back to Govan.
United 1 – Rangers 4
Rangers began to treat this like a training exercise and the fans began to cheer every pass that went to a Rangers player and Rangers maintained possession just passing it around the park. Lovenkrands, who seemed desperate to get on the goal sheet overran the ball over the goal line with 5 minutes to go.
There was 3 substitutions on the 87th minute when Novo came on for Boyd for Rangers and Cameron replaced Robson and Robertson gave some fresh legs when he replaced Fernandez.
Game culminated with Rangers retaining possession and it was a tad ironic that the person who had the ball at the end of the game (Ronald Watteraus) was the less worked of the two keepers.
In conclusion Rangers worthy of their three points. The score line certainly flattered them to a certain extent. United will cry and bemoan missed chances and not given stonewall penalties, but Rangers could have claimed the same had the referee seen the two possible handballs differently.
United manager Craig Brewster summed it up in the after match interview by saying that ?the defence starts from the front two, they hadn?t covered the midfield, who in turn hadn?t covered the defence.? Rangers were given many chances. Far to many in many Arabs viewpoints. It is a team game and we simply did not play as a team. That reflected in the score line and to be honest I do not grudge Rangers their win.
United had a few positives, Fernandez shown he can play well when his back is up against it. Mulgrew is great going forward but not so great in coming back again. Kerr did well in midfield. Kenneth is maturing well as a defender.
I will leave you with a Brewster quote to finish off with ?that was a disgrace? Craig honestly feels it as hard as the Arabs in the stands. I can only hope for a turn around as we prepare to face Falkirk next week.
Proud to be an Arab
Derek Stillie 6
Did well when called upon, couldn’t do anything about the first two goals. Made some decent saves to keep the score down. Wasn’t helped by his defence at times.
Lee Mair 6
Overall did his job and tried to defend the goal well, useful at set pieces and it would have been a lot worse had Lee not been playing.
Charlie Mulgrew 7
Charlie did realy well on getting up the field and really did attack Rangers well in his role as a wing back, type player. Needs to work on his tracking back however as causes holes in the United defence by not effectively doing so. I do however wish he was staying long term rather than returning to Celtic Park.
David McCracken 5
Didn’t do well at all with Prso, on the first goal Prso beat him twice before shooting, Prso gave him a difficult afternoon which was only relieved when Garry Kenneth switched with him with 12 minutes to go. Not one of his finest performances in a United jersey.
Garry Kenneth 8
Garry did well and filled in more than one role in an already stretched United defence. One of the bright lights in an otherwise bad day at the office.
Derek McInnes 6
Did a good holding role in midfield, however in games like this should be stamping his authority as both Captain and his position in the midfield. (like an on form Scott Severin) This wasn’t done and Buffel was allowed to rule the midfield. This was one of United’s downfalls. Sacrificed for Duff on the 71st minutefor the benefit of the team.
Marr Kerr 7
Did what he was asked to do and Kerr had a solid game, still loses the ball to easily sometimes but he is always commited and gives his heart 100%. Kerr always puts in a shift and this was no exception.
Barry Robson 6
Did really well in getting down the Rangers flanks and always looked dangerous. Subbed with three minutes to go, but my view is so that Craig could give the youngsters some on-field time.
Lee Miller 6
Lee hurt his hand early on in the game and seemed to shy out of tackles afterwards. I would have thought that Miller would have revelled in playing against the bigger teams such as Rangers. Had his chances but didnt convert.
David Fernandez 7
David did really well in a support role behind the strikers. He caused the Rangers defence some issues and played some really telling balls into the Rangers defence. Fernandez did play well and was a genuine threat to the Rangers goal. I do wish he would be a bit more greedy and pull the trigger himself.
Collin Samuel 7
Collin plays in bursts and we are used to that at Tannadice now. Scorer of our consolation goal and should have had a stonewall penalty. Was our main goal threat with many chances on goal and was diaspointed for Collin that he didnt get more than one.
Stuart Duff 4
Came on for McInnes and did well playing a few telling balls in and was a wise subsitution by Brewster. was a good fresh pair of legs and on another day may have been the difference between one point and none.
Greg Cameron 0
Came on with 3 minutes to go, when Rangers were stroking the ball around and United hardly had a touch of the ball at that stage.
Again came on with no time left and didnt have anything to do. Good expeiernce for the young lad though.
Brewster did well with what he had. Tried to change the game just after the goal by replacing McInnes with Duff to try to turn the tide. Brewster didnt do anything tactically wrong in my opinion, however the defence does need to learn it cannot give teams like Rangers that much space. Brewster is still finding out who his best team is and to a certain extent, some of the players in Tangerine may not be there in the new season. I know Brewster is keen to bring in players hungry for the team.
McLeish came in and did the job he had to do with no mercy. A lesser man would not have set his stall out the way he did with the imminent arrival of Le Guen. McLeish set out an attacking stall and executed the result brilliantly. Rangers were the dominant force and once it went to 2-0 they were cruising. Fair play to McLeish for trying to run up the score. He has a job to do in catching Hearts and thats his only aim.