Dundee United 1-1 Rangers: How SPFL champions dropped more points on the road in title race


For the second time this season, the reigning champions dropped points at Dundee United. After their midweek Europa League heroics in Dortmund, this was another bump on the domestic road for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s squad.

They have now shed nine points in seven league games since the winter break to hand the initiative in the title race to Celtic. While there are likely to be more twists and turns in the remaining 11 rounds of fixtures, Rangers are leaving themselves with precious little margin for further error.

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They at least avoided defeat on this trip to Tannadice where they lost 1-0 under Steven Gerrard back in August. Joe Aribo’s 76th minute equalizer saw their relentless second half pressure finally tell as he canceled out Ross Graham’s first half opener for United.

Joe Aribo scores Rangers’ equalizer in the 1-1 draw against Dundee United at Tannadice. (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group)

Graham certainly won’t forget this match in a hurry. He seemed to be involved in just about every incident of note, from the moment he made a brilliant challenge inside the penalty area to deny Ryan Kent an early sight of goal after the winger had linked up with Alfredo Morelos to carve out the opening.

As United stood up to Rangers’ early pressure, Graham was then fortunate to escape a penalty claim against him when a clearance from team-mate Charlie Mulgrew struck him on the arm.

For all of the visitors’ dominance of possession, they were struggling to find a way to test Benjamin Siegrist in the United goal. Scott Arfield let their best opportunity of the first half go to waste when he elected to try and find Alfredo Morelos rather than taking on a shot himself from an inviting position.

United looked threatening whenever they did make headway towards the Rangers penalty area and their 29th minute breakthrough came during their most sustained attacking spell.

Dundee United defender celebrates opening the scoring for his team against Rangers at Tannadice. (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group)

Van Bronckhorst and his coaching staff would not have been impressed by the way their team defended Dylan Levitt’s corner from the left, Graham able to leap relatively unfettered to send a firm header beyond Allan McGregor.

To complete his frantic first half, Graham almost scored an own goal in stoppage time when his interception of a John Lundstram cross saw his header fly just wide of Siegrist’s left hand post.

While United came close to a second goal early in the second half when McGregor did well to save a shot from Mark McNulty, it preceded what was generally one-way traffic towards Siegrist’s goal.

United defended brilliantly, making block after block as they soaked up wave after wave of Rangers attacks, while Siegrist made a stunning save to deny an Aribo header.

But the hosts were breached when Kent, Rangers’ top performer, found Calvin Bassey down the left and the full-back’s cutback was smashed high into the net by Aribo.

Substitutes Amad Diallo and Fashion Sakala both struck the frame of the goal as Rangers pressed for a winner but United held out through seven minutes of stoppage time to claim a valuable point in their quest for European qualification.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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