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Dundee United vs Rangers (Scottish FA Cup 5th ) 02/02/2013 KO 12:45 GMT


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On Saturday Rangers take a break from the Scottish Third Division, when they travel to Tannardice for the Scottish Cup Fifth Round tie at Dundee Utd.

 

Rangers fans will also be taking a break, boycotting the game in protest at the treatment handed to Rangers by the SPL in general and Dundee Utd in particular. The club and fans are fully united in this boycott, Rangers themselves having "declined to take tickets" for the match:

 

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Mixed news on the injury front. Lewis McLeod could be out of action for "up to two months" after being carried off injured during the first half of the game against Montrose. Results of a scan showed that he had damaged medial ligaments in his knee, so from this respect, as the official site says: "It was feared Macleod had suffered a more serious injury so in that respect the news is good for manager Ally McCoist."

 

There is also a possibility that Lee McCulloch may be ready to return from his recent injury.From the official Rangers site:

 

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LEE McCULLOCH is desperate to lead Rangers at Tannadice on Saturday when they will attempt to poke an SPL club in the eye for the second time this season.

The skipper is fighting to recover from an ankle problem having missed the last three matches.

But he is determined to face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup 5th round tie when Rangers will play in a stadium bereft of their supporters following the decision not to take tickets due to historic differences with the Tangerines.

McCulloch told RangersTV: “I’m feeling better. The gaffer gave me a week off away from Murray Park to let things settle.

“I played the Queen’s Park game at the end of the year and then the Elgin game and I think it was clear to see that I was not running properly and I couldn’t even control the ball it was that sore.

“I have not really trained yet and I have done a minimum of general fitness because of the weight-bearing aspect to it.

“I’m not ruling myself out because I never do that and it’s a match I would love to play in.

“It’s a cup tie against an SPL club and it’s the type of situation we want to be in.

“We played against Motherwell in the League Cup earlier this season and I thought we beat them convincingly.

“Having said that, I felt we lost convincingly to Inverness in the next round.

“We want to go up to Tannadice and play to the same level that we did in that Motherwell game.

“There is a lot surrounding this game given that we won’t have any fans there. We know why and we don’t have a problem with it.

“So it would be very special to give the fans a win – even although they will be watching on TV.

“It’s always a good atmosphere at Tannadice and it’s one of the tougher places to go. We found that when we were an SPL club.

“They have some good players – like Gary Mackay-Steven, Barry Douglas. John Rankin and Jon Daly – so we are going to have to be on top of our game.

“We need to go up there and show we are not scared and I’m sure we will. The young players have handled big crowds at Ibrox so I’m sure they will be fine.â€

 

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I really hope that not one Rangers fan goes to Tannadice, it'll really get the message across.

 

Bad news about Lewis McLeod, he's really stepped up this season, hope he's back in the side soon. And the sooner we get Lee McCulloch back the better, he's been immense this season.

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I heard on Clyde radio the other day a few Rangers fans phoning in saying they were going anyway. One of them said he wasn't going to wear colours or anything, but the other was vehement that he wanted to voice his support for his team etc..etc.. think he kind of missed the point.. 

 

My prediction is a really tough and hard-fought match, Rangers will push Utd through to the end, maybe a replay at Ibrox? 

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More good news on the injury front:

 

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CHRIS HEGARTY has been cleared to keep playing for Rangers after an x-ray showed there is no serious damage to his leg.

The Northern Ireland under-21 international has had to come off in recent matches against Berwick and Montrose with thigh spasms.

But he was assessed earlier this week and although the problem appears to stem from his back, it isn’t something which will stop him from playing.

Instead, he will remain under the supervision of the club’s medical staff and is in contention to play against Dundee United at Tannadice this weekend.

Hegarty has made himself a regular in the side since coming into the first XI at the end of October for the 2-0 win against Clyde at Broadwood.

Having made his debut in the single-goal victory at Falkirk in the Ramsdens Cup back in August, he has now started 17 games in a row.

Hegarty’s good form has kept him in the right-back position ahead of the likes of Anestis Argyriou and Sebastien Faure.

And having the 20-year-old available to play against the Arabs in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup is a boost for manager Ally McCoist.

He could also have skipper Lee McCulloch back after he missed most of January with an ankle problem.

Kevin Kyle is expected to miss out once again though because of the ankle problem which has kept him on the sidelines since mid-December.

Lewis Macleod is definitely missing after he was told he would spend between six and eight weeks out of the team with medial ligament damage.

Young right-back Darren Cole is another who won’t travel to Tannadice following successful ankle surgery in Bradford earlier this week.

He’ll be out for the rest of the season but is expected to now make a full recovery from a problem which has hindered him for much of the campaign.

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I heard on Clyde radio the other day a few Rangers fans phoning in saying they were going anyway. One of them said he wasn't going to wear colours or anything, but the other was vehement that he wanted to voice his support for his team etc..etc.. think he kind of missed the point.. 

 

My prediction is a really tough and hard-fought match, Rangers will push Utd through to the end, maybe a replay at Ibrox? 

Rangers will be well up for this one, no doubt about it - even without bulk of the traveling support. There are bound to be a few who'll be reluctant to spoil their 100% attendance record. Meanwhile here's what Ally McCoist has to say:

 

We'll Miss Our Fans

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ALLY McCOIST admits that an absence of fans at Tannadice is not a perfect scenario for his side as they chase Scottish Cup success.

Rangers opted not to take a ticket allocation for the Fifth Round clash with Dundee United on Tayside.

McCoist has experienced playing without away fans in the past and while he supports the decision to refuse tickets he recognises the benefits of having a strong Rangers backing behind his team.

He said: “It’s not an ideal situation of course. We would rather have our tremendous away support.

“They have followed us to Elgin and to Berwick, to Peterhead and to Forres so I think there’s every chance they would have followed us to Dundee as well.

“Circumstances have dictated that we haven’t taken a ticket allocation and that’s not ideal because it will make it more difficult.

“That said we have played in away games before – I remember a couple myself – where we haven’t taken any support and have worked out reasonably well for us.â€

McCoist believes the experience could even benefit some of his younger players in the long term.

A number of those who have broken in to the squad this season have experienced nothing but vociferous away support from Rangers fans and McCoist admits Saturday will be a new part of their education.

He added: “It will be different but it’s part of their growing up and part of their experience.

“At this club there are always big games and it’s the job of the young players to handle that and this is just something that they will have to handle in the same way.

“Hopefully it will be a one-off and although it will be alien to them it certainly won’t do them any harm.â€

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Go for it Rangers. 

 

I fully support this boycott. United gleefully made it clear that they and didn't want  Rangers in SPL and should be punished,

 

Why do they then suddenly want the money of the normally large travelling Rangers support ?

 

Hypocrits.

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Good stuff from Neil Alexander ahead of today's game:

 

We Can Rise To The Occasion

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NEIL ALEXANDER believes Rangers have the squad and the bottle to upset the odds and reach the last eight of the Scottish Cup.

The Light Blues will be depleted at Tannadice today with Lee McCulloch, Lewis Macleod and Kevin Kyle definitely missing and Fran Sandaza a doubt.

There will be no fans – or at least hardly any – inside the ground after Rangers refused to take tickets due to historic differences with Dundee United.

However, Alexander, who has two winners’ medals from his time at Rangers, believes the Ibrox men can rise to the occasion.

He said: “It’s a mouth-watering tie and with the ticket issue it has spiced things up a bit.

“We are all looking forward to seeing how far we have come by playing against an SPL team.

“I think Dundee United will go into the game as favourites being the SPL team but we have done not too badly this year against higher opposition so it’s a good challenge for us.

“We have nothing to lose. Our main objective is to win SFL 3 and see where that takes us but the Cup is a good distraction and we hope to enjoy it.

“I don’t remember being involved in a match where there are no – or very few – supporters behind me so it’s going to be unique.

“It will be strange and I’m sure it will be very hostile but you expect that to a degree when you go away games in normal circumstances.

“So the players will need to rally round and give each other the confidence that the fans will normally give us.

“Every time you play a team in a higher division it’s a great test and if we could win the game it would be a major scalp.

“Although we are in SFL 3 we still consider ourselves an SPL club. We may not have the SPL players that we have had in the past but I feel we have a good enough squad to go up there and put up a good fight against Dundee United.â€

 

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Disappointing result and a disappointing performance. Having got off to the worst possible start, going a goal down after 15 seconds, defensive lapses ultimately cost Rangers dear. To add insult to injury, Kai Naismith and Ian Black were both sent off towards the end of the game. From Rangers official site:

 

Dundee United 3-0 Rangers

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RANGERS were the architects of their own downfall as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Tannadice to limp tamely out of the Scottish Cup.

Quite frankly it was very poor defending which allowed United to take a two-goal lead before half-time and even although Rangers had some decent pressure after the break clear chances were few and far between.

Sloppy defending contributed to United’s third goal 11 minutes from time and then it got rather embarrassing as firstly Kal Naismith and then Ian Black were sent off.

In truth it indicated the difference in strength between the two sides but it could have been and should have been a more even contest and that will be the big disappointment.

It was probably just as well there were hardly any Rangers fans in the ground to see it.

The start could have hardly have been more disastrous as Rangers went behind virtually straight from the kick-off.

There were only 15 seconds on the clock when Johnny Russell’s left foot shot squirmed into the net despite the best efforts of Neil Alexander.

It was as a result of desperately poor defending as firstly Lee Wallace was beaten in the air by Jon Daly to a diagonal ball and then Emilson Cribari and Ross Perry got in each other’s way allowing the ball to reach Russell.

Calamitous barely describes it all and Ally McCoist could scarcely believe his eyes.

Rangers nearly found an equaliser within a minute when Andy Little found space in the box after good work from David Templeton but Little pulled a left foot shot just wide of the right post.

However, it was a rare moment of offensive play in the early stages as the Light Blues were fortunate not to concede on two more occasions before 17 minutes had been played.

The centre of the Rangers defence again looked weak in six minutes when Russell headed inches wide from a Barry Douglas cross.

Then the Dundee United front man hit the crossbar with a left foot shot in 16 minutes after another Daly flick on and Rangers were struggling to hold on.

During this period Lee Wallace was booked for a foul on Gavin Gunning but it was his play down the left side that began to give Rangers a foothold in the match.

He and Templeton began to link better and finally put some pressure on United. Indeed in 27 minutes the acting captain produced a terrific cross which Fran Sandaza should have done better with instead of glancing a header wide.

However, terrible defending was Rangers’ downfall again in 36 minutes when United scored a second goal.

No-one picked up Daly as a long free kick from the left back area came into the penalty area and he guided a header past Alexander. He was so alone that he seemed to be offside but replays showed that he was not.

An already tough task suddenly became incredibly difficult and it was exacerbated by enforced changes.

Perry suddenly slumped to the turf and indicated to the bench that his game was over and Chris Hegarty came on as a straight replacement.

That happened five minutes before half-time and during the break it became clear that Sandaza’s hamstring problem would force his withdrawal and Kal Naismith was thrust into the action.

There were also yellow cards for Kyle Hutton and Cribari in the period just before the break for fouls on Gary Mackay-Steven and Willo Flood respectively.

Perhaps a combination of Rangers’ determination and United’s contentedness with the score resulted in much better possession and pressure in the early part of the second half.

Wallace was at the heart of most of the good play but Rangers could not seem to carve out an opening,

The closest they came in this spell was a long-range, swerving shot from Ian Black in 62 minutes which was only just past the right hand post.

Templeton was more involved and had a long range shot comfortably saved by Cherzniak and then came close to picking out Little in the box with a good cross.

However, the frustration for the bench was the lack of a killer pass or a meaningful test of the United keeper.

Rangers’ inability to really worry United meant that the tie slowly slipped away and the loss of a third goal 11 minutes from time only rubbed salt into the wounds.

Again indecisive defending was a contributory factor and when Faure looped a header into the air United were quicker to react with Daly threading a ball through to Russell who got in behind Wallace to steer the ball past Alexander.

Sadly Rangers lost their discipline in the final moments when both Naismith and Black were sent off.

Youngster Naismith showed his inexperience in 85 minutes when he made a wild challenge on Flood right in front of the referee and was shown a red card.

Then a minute later Black, who had been unfortunate to be booked in 76 minutes for a clash with Gunning, went in rashly on John Rankin and was shown a second yellow and therefore a red.

A disappointing day turned into a rather embarrassing one.

 

RANGERS: Alexander; Faure, Perry (Hegarty 40), Cribari, Wallace; Black, Hutton; Little, Shiels (McKay 72), Templeton; Sandaza (Naismith 45)

Subs not used: Gallacher, Crawford.

 

Sent off: Naismith (85), Black (86)

 

Bookings: Wallace (5), Hutton (40), Cribari (45), Shiels (70)

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Result didn't suprise me but the lack of effort and concentration from supposed SPL players like Shiels, Black, Templeton, Perry ect did.

Not good enough I'm afraid and some players need a boot up the arse and reminded who they play for.

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