Apr 12, 2014 at 12.45pm UK at ​Ibrox Stadium
RangersRangers
1-3
Dundee UtdDundee United
Smith (42')
Black (88')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Armstrong (23'), Mackay-Steven (37'), Ciftci (83')
Wilson (58'), Gunning (76'), Armstrong (88')

Live Commentary: Rangers 1-3 Dundee United - as it happened

Rangers manager Ally McCoist looks on from the stand during the pre season friendly match between Rangers and Newcastle United at Ibrox Stadium on August 06, 2013
© Getty Images
Relive Dundee United's 3-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox as the Tangerines booked their place in the final of the Scottish Cup.

Dundee United booked their place in the final of the Scottish Cup courtesy of a 3-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox this afternoon.

The visitors took the lead midway through the first half when Stuart Armstrong guided the ball in off the post, while their lead was doubled by Gary Mackay-Steven's deflected effort later in the half.

Rangers did pull a goal back before the break as Steven Smith's free kick squeezed over the line, but a howler from Steve Simonsen in the 83rd minute allowed Nadir Ciftci to seal United's progress.

You can read how an absorbing semi-final unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.


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12.15pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for the Scottish Cup semi-final between Rangers and Dundee United at Ibrox. Today's match could make or break either side's season, so we should be in for an interesting encounter as the once-mighty Rangers look to prove that they can still cut it with top-flight opposition. Let's start with a look at the hosts...

12.17pmFor most other teams in the world, being champions of your division with a whopping 32-point lead over second place would make for a successful season. However, such dominance is the minimum expectation for a Rangers side looking to work their way back up the Scottish league pyramid following their relegation to the bottom tier due to financial troubles. While their league position may have plummeted, expectations haven't, and a failure to add a cup competition to their league success this season would be viewed as a disappointment.

12.19pmIndeed, Ally McCoist must be the only manager in the history of the game to find his job under threat when 32 points clear at the top of the league. Last weekend's miserable 1-0 defeat after extra time to Raith Rovers piled the pressure on the former Scotland striker, and some have even speculated that another defeat today could see him sacked as manager.

12.21pmThe reason behind the pressure is that he has failed to win any of the eight cup competitions that he has entered as manager of Rangers and, for one of the Old Firm, being without a major piece of silverware for so long is unacceptable, even considering the club's recent troubles. Rangers have won this trophy 33 times before - second only to Celtic - and if they don't make it 34 this season then McCoist could be in trouble.

12.23pmHowever, it should not be forgotten that the defeat to Raith, surprising as it was, was their first loss in 39 matches and just their second all season. They are unbeaten in the league, dropping just four points on their way to the title, and have not exactly lost a game within 90 minutes in the current campaign. Both of their defeats - to Forfar in the League Cup and Raith in the Ramsdens Cup - have come after extra time.

12.25pmThey haven't lost at all at Ibrox this season, and the fact that this stadium was the pre-determined destination for the semi-final even before Rangers qualified is a stroke of good luck that could prove vital for them. Their last defeat in front of their own fans came just under a year ago, on April 20, 2013, although all four of their dropped points in the league this season have come at home.

12.27pmThey also needed a replay to overcome lowly Albion Rovers in the last round having drawn the first match 1-1 at Ibrox. That will give Dundee United plenty of confidence as they look to add gloss to what as already been a fairly successful campaign for them. They currently sit fourth in the Scottish Premiership going into the Championship round, six points off a qualifying place for the Europa League.

12.29pmThis will be their second match in a row against Old Firm opposition having lost 2-0 to Celtic last Saturday, a result that ended a four-game unbeaten streak for Jackie McNamara's side. They have not managed a win against Old Firm opposition since February of last year, but that was also the last time that they took on Rangers, comfortably knocking them out of this very competition with a 3-0 victory.

12.31pmIndeed, they are looking for a hat-trick of wins against Rangers in this competition having knocked them out in the previous two seasons. They have a very impressive record against today's opponents in the Scottish Cup, having played them eight times and lost just once - a remarkable record considering Rangers' joint dominance of Scottish football over the years. That defeat came all the way back in March 1989 in a replay of the first ever meeting between the two sides in this competition.

12.33pmThey have only won the trophy twice in their history, the last of which came in 2010, but their recent history in the competition is good. Only Celtic have been able to knock them out in the last two seasons, while they have only lost one of their last 12 away games. The last five of those have all been victories, during which time they have scored a whopping 20 goals and conceded just three.

12.35pmIn all competitions, Dundee United are unbeaten in their last five away games and managed to hold Celtic to a 1-1 draw in their last away game against a member of the Old Firm. They will be wary of a Rangers backlash following their shock defeat last week, but McNamara will be confident that his side can come away from today's game with a victory that would see them face either St Johnstone or Aberdeen in the final.

12.37pmTEAM NEWS: Right, the teams are in for both sides and the big news for Rangers is that Wallace, Templeton and Little are all out. The trio have been struggling with injuries this week, but it was hoped that at least one of them would be able to feature. However, there is not even a place on the bench for them, while goalkeeper Cammy Bell is also sidelined. Dundee United, meanwhile, welcome back Mackay-Steven, but there is no place in the starting XI for Watson. Full team news for both teams on the way...

12.38pmRANGERS STARTING XI: Simonsen; Foster, Mohsni, McCulloch, Smith; Peralta, Black, Law, Aird; Shiels, Daly

12.38pmRANGERS SUBS: Gallacher, Cribari, Faure, Crawford, Clark, Hutton, Gallagher

12.39pmDUNDEE UNITED STARTING XI: Cierzniak, Wilson, Souttar, Gunning, Paton, Rankin, Gauld, Robertson, Armstrong, Ciftci, Mackay-Steven

12.39pmDUNDEE UNITED SUBS: McCallum, Watson, Gomis, El Alagui, Dillon, Graham, Dow

12.40pmPREDICTION: Right, we're five minutes from kickoff at Ibrox, so it's time for my prediction! Rangers have swept most before them this season and will certainly be looking for a response to last weekend's defeat to Raith, which drew boos from the crowd. Home advantage should help them, but they face their biggest test of the season today and Dundee United may just prove to be too strong for them. I'll go for a 2-1 away victory.

12.42pmRangers have conceded just one goal in their five Scottish Cup encounters this season, while Dundee United have scored 12 in their three, so it should be an intriguing battle today!

12.44pmThere is a great atmosphere inside Ibrox today. It is the biggest match of Rangers' season for sure, while it takes on a similar level of importance for Dundee United.

1 minKICKOFF: Dundee United get us underway at Ibrox as they look to avoid what would be an upset against the League One champions. This should be a cracking game, and the fans are certainly playing their part in the early stages.

3 minRangers have a rather formidable record at this stage of the competition. They have won their last 21 Scottish Cup semi-finals, but rarely will they have faced a tougher test than this. The home crowd will demand a response to last Saturday's defeat.

3 minOFF THE LINE! Oh, how has that not gone in?! Daly does well to steal the ball in a good position, poking it to Aird who burst down the left wing before seeing his cross put behind for a corner. Mulloch wins a header from the resulting delivery and his effort is blocked inside the six-yard box, with the ball falling to Mohsni. He pokes the ball goalwards but it is stopped on the line and scrambled away by the defence!

5 minIt has been a really good opening to this match. United have seen a decent opening quickly closed down on the edge of the Rangers box, but it is the hosts who have made the brighter start. They are being spurred on by the crowd and look dangerous.

6 minSAVE! Armstrong skips away from a couple of challenges in midfield before poking the ball to Armstrong on the left. The full-back goes to hit it first time, but his effort is easy for Simonsen to save at his near post. He didn't quite catch that one as well as he would have liked.

8 minDaly looks to make an impact against his former club as he collects a long throw inside the box before unleashing a shot on the turn, but he slices it and it skews well wide of the mark.

10 minMackay-Steven latches on to a long pass over the top and puts pressure on Simonson, who almost carries the ball out of his area but just manages to hold on. The flag was up against the United striker anyway, so it would not have counted.

12 minRangers have enjoyed the better of the opening 12 minutes of this game, but it is quite even right now. The only real chance we've had came in the third minute when Mohsni failed to convert from close range as his shot was scrambled away off the line.

14 minCLOSE! Rangers almost break the deadlock as they play the ball forward from the back before Aird picks it up on the left. He advances towards the edge of the box before firing a powerful strike towards the near post that ripples the side-netting. The keeper looked to have it covered, though.

16 minThere is a lot of debris swirling around the stadium at the moment, a result of the party atmosphere before the game. The biggest problem looks to be Dundee United-coloured balloons, which are clogging up the left wing position for Rangers.

18 minGauld is fortunate to get away without a yellow card for this challenge as he slides in late and from behind on Mohsni. He tried to nick the ball as the Rangers defender dwelled on it, but he got his challenge all wrong.

19 minAgain, referee Bobby Madden is very lenient as Foster comes through the back of his man with both feet off the ground. How has he not been booked there? It was a shocking challenge.

19 minCHANCE! What a huge chance for Rangers to take the lead! Aird slips the ball through to Shiels, who takes the ball in his stride well and only has the keeper to beat. However, his finish is dreadful as he drags it well wide of the target. Massive chance.

21 minAll the chances are falling the way of Rangers at the moment, who are certainly playing better today than they did last weekend. However, McCoist will be wondering quite how his side aren't ahead having squandered two glorious chances.

22 minMohsni concedes a free kick in a very dangerous area, and United may have their first chance to really test Simonsen here. It is well within shooting distance and far enough away to get it back down after the wall.

23 minGOAL! Rangers 0-1 Dundee United (Stuart Armstrong)

23 minDundee United have the lead against the run of play! The free kick was poor as it slammed into the wall, but Rangers made a mess of getting it clear. The ball was eventually nodded back into a dangerous area and Armstrong raced through behind the sleeping defence to guide his shot past the keeper and in off the post. There was a man offside for United, but he wasn't interfering.

25 minCHANCE! Almost a second in as many minutes for Dundee United as Gauld plays a lovely first-time pass through to Ciftci, who fires his low effort across goal towards the bottom corner. However, Simonsen gets down well to make the stop and push the ball away.

27 minThe replay shows that it was Smith who was most at fault for the goal, hanging back in defence and playing Armstrong well on side. It was lazy defending from him and he was duly punished for it. Meanwhile, the referee orders the players to pop some of the balloons that are all over the pitch now.

29 minDundee United have taken on a much greater degree of control over this match since going ahead, seeing more of the ball and dictating the tempo of the match. However, the direct style of Rangers when they get the ball is ensuring that the crowd is not being silenced as the hosts are still very much in this one.

30 minOFF THE BAR! Mayhem inside the United area as Law cross comes off the crossbar with the keeper having left it to go behind. It comes back to Aird, whose sliced effort goes high in the air. A scramble ensues before United can family get it clear. What an extraordinary sequence of events that was!

32 minMcCulloch goes down inside the box clutching his jaw after an aerial challenge with two United players and one of his own teammates. The replays show that he did get caught in the mouth, but there is no chance of a penalty being given for that.

34 minThere is certainly no quarter being given or asked in this match. It is bubbling up quite nicely at the moment but the referee needs to ensure that it doesn't get too feisty. It has been a rather frantic affair so far.

35 minCHANCE! It is another huge chance for Rangers! A ball is clipped over the top for Aird, who beats the offside trap with a superb run into the box. The United defence don't believe that his is on and don't even bother chasing back as the ball is teed up to Daly, who sends a glorious chance a long, long way over the bar.

36 minGOAL! Rangers 0-2 Dundee United (Gary Mackay-Steven)

36 minCould that be a decisive goal in this match? United double their lead in messy fashion, but they won't care how it went in. It was brilliant play down the left from Gauld, who beat three men close to the byline before pulling the ball back to Armstrong. He could only help the ball on its way to Mackay-Steven, whose shot hits Mohsni and loops over the keeper and in.

38 minWhat a huge blow that is for Rangers, and they only really have themselves to blame. They have missed three golden chances to score, and soon after two of those they went and conceded at the other end. Rangers have been wasteful, United have been clinical, and that is the difference between the two sides at the moment.

40 minCHANCE! Mackay-Steven lofts a ball over the top for Ciftci at the front post, but he can't connect with an ambitious attempted flick over the onrushing keeper. That was a half chance for the visitors, but it would have been some finish for Ciftci to score.

41 minRangers now have a free kick in a decent shooting position. They will be desperate to get back into this match before half time. If they can pull a goal back before the break then they will fancy their chances.

42 minGOAL! Rangers 1-2 Dundee United (Steven Smith)

42 minThey do get a goal back! Smith stands over the free kick and curls it left-footed over the wall and gets it to dip towards the bottom corner. Cierzniak gets a hand on it and really should do better with it, but he can't keep it out as it creeps over the line. Poor goalkeeping.

44 minPENALTY SHOUT! United have a big penalty shout at the end of the half, but the referee remains unmoved. Robertson slips a fine pass down the left channel for Ciftci, who gets to the ball before being brought down by a combination of Simonsen and Mohsni. United win a free kick moments later, but they will feel that they should have a penalty.

45 minThe free kick is wasted as the shot goes well wide, while moments later Ciftci also fires an effort of his own a long way past the target. Non-stop action at Ibrox at the moment.

45 minWe will have a minimum of two minutes added time at the end of this first half.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Rangers 1-2 Dundee United

1.36pmWell, what a superb 45 minutes of football that was! We've had three goals and plenty more chances in a cracking first half at Ibrox, where Dundee United lead Rangers 2-1 at the break. As things stand, it is the visitors who will be running out at Celtic Park in next month's final, but there was enough evidence in that first half to suggest that we haven't seen the last of the goals in this match.

1.38pmUnited took the lead midway through the half, helped largely by some lazy defending from Smith as he slacked behind his teammates in racing out from the back after the ball had been cleared. That allowed a single header to set Armstrong through on goal, and he finished well from just inside the area with the ball at an awkward height. They doubled their advantage in the 37th minute when Gauld did really down the left before eventually working the wall to Mackey-Steven via Armstrong. The striker's effort deflected off Mohsni, which took it over the keeper and in.

1.40pmRangers did pull a goal back before the break, however, and that could prove to be a crucial lifeline for them in the second half. It was Smith - who was at fault for United's opener - who got the goal, curling a free kick into the bottom corner from almost 30 yards out. However, some blame must lie on the shoulders of the United keeper, who produced a weak effort to keep it out having reached the ball in time.

1.42pmIn terms of chances, there is no doubt that Rangers should be ahead in this match. They had their first glorious opening after just three minutes when McCulloch's header dropped to Mohsni inside the box, but his effort was blocked on the line before scrambling it away from danger. Shiels also missed a great chance when one-on-one with the keeper having been released by Aird's first-time ball as he dragged a dreadful effort well wide.

1.44pmRangers were punished for that miss soon after when United took the lead, and they were similarly punished after squandering another chance later in the half. Aird beat the offside trap really well before knocking the ball back to Daly, who had time to place his shot but skewed it a long well over the crossbar. United went on to score their second just a minute later.

1.46pmThe hosts have also hit the ball, although the effort from Law was intended as a cross. The ball dropped back into the area and resulted in a scramble before United eventually got it clear. In many ways, that piece of play encapsulated the first half, which was a frantic but highly entertaining affair. If the second half is even half as good, then we are in for a treat.

1.48pmUnited will feel that they should have had a penalty right on the stroke of half time as Ciftci was brought down by a mixture of Mohsni and Simonsen inside the box. There is little doubt that, anywhere else on the field, it would have been a free kick, so United can feel rightly aggrieved that the referee didn't point to the spot. That took place just two minutes after Rangers scored their goal, which may have played a part in Bobby Madden's decision.

1.50pmIs there any way back for Rangers in this match? They have certainly created enough chances for them to believe that they can pull another goal back, and that strike just before half time will give them an extra boost. They do need to be more clinical in front of goal, though.

46 minKICKOFF: Rangers get us back underway for this second half at Ibrox. Hopefully it will be as interesting and action-packed as the first half as the hosts look to battle back against top-flight United.

47 minBright start from the visitors as Robertson shapes a lovely cross behind the defence and into the box. Ciftci is interested in it but just can't connect as Simonsen clutches on to the ball gratefully.

49 minA reminder that we must have a winner in this match today. Should Rangers get one more goal back without reply and the match ends as a draw, then we would go to extra time and penalties if needed. That is certainly not out of the question at the moment.

49 minAmbitious from Gauld as he picks the ball up on the right wing and goes for goal from a long way out with an improbable angle against him. Sure enough, his effort goes a long way wide and doesn't trouble Simonsen.

50 minCHANCE! Good chance for United as the ball is lofted through for Robertson, who makes a good run behind the defence. He should never be allowed to get to the ball as it strays into the area, but Simonsen hesitates when coming out of goal and allows the United man to get there first. However, he tries to put the ball over the keeper on the run and only succeeds in putting it well over the top.

52 minAnother decent opening for the visitors as Robertson shrugs off one challenge on the left before slipping the ball inside for Gauld. He has a chance to go for goal himself and probably should do, but instead he looks for Ciftci and his pass is intercepted.

54 minUnited are really buzzing about Rangers at the moment, winning the ball back quickly and then pushing forward looking for a third goal which could kill this match off. They are on top right and have had the better of the second half so far.

56 minThis half is yet to hit the heights of the first half, which really got off to a flying start. However, as the game progresses, both teams will need to become a little more savvy with their tactics as United start thinking more about protecting their lead and Rangers go in search of an equaliser.

58 minYELLOW CARD! The first yellow card of the afternoon goes to Wilson, who chops Daly down right on the edge of the area. Good chance for Rangers from this free kick, can they test the keeper again. They have already scored with one free kick today, of course.

59 minUnsurprisingly, Smith once again gets the nod when it comes to free kick duties, but this time he can't beat the wall as his effort smacks off the top of it and United get the ball to safety.

61 minDUNDEE UNITED SUB: The first chance of the day comes from the visitors as Keith Watson comes on for Mark Wilson, who has just picked up that booking of course.

63 minRANGERS SUB: Rangers respond with a change of their own as Fraser Aird makes way for Nicky Clark. Aird has looked quite bright today, so I'm surprised at that decision.

65 minThe two subs clash here as Watson comes right through Clark with an aerial challenge from behind. It is the United man who comes off worse, landing very awkwardly on his head. That could have been a nasty injury, so it is a relief to see him up and walking soon after.

67 minDUNDEE UNITED SUB: The visitors make another change as Ryan Dow replaces Ryan Gauld, who has had a good game today. His contribution for the second goal, in particular, could prove pivotal in this match.

69 minAnother opening for Rangers, but yet again their finish is poor. The ball breaks off Law for Peralta on the edge of the box, and you can tell what he is trying to do as he looks to whip is left-footed, first-time towards the top corner. However, in reality, he balloons it a long way over the bar.

71 minThe pressure is starting to build on United now as Rangers look for an equaliser in this final 20 minutes. The visitors are no longer placing so much emphasis on attack as their priorities switch to defending their lead, which is allowing Rangers to see a lot more of the ball.

73 minBobby Madden has been incredibly lenient today. This time Clark scythes Dow down with a really late, poor challenge, but the referee once again refuses to produce his card.

75 minRangers have 15 minutes left to find an equaliser here, otherwise they will experience yet another disappointment in a cup competition. Despite having won the League One title, the success of their season pretty much depends on this competition and, as a result, this final 15 minutes.

76 minYELLOW CARD! Shiels is slipped through and gets the wrong side of Gunning, who bundles him over with an untidy challenge. There is a hint of it being worthy of a red as it looked like a goalscoring opportunity, but the referee opts for just a yellow. Rangers now have a free kick in a very good position.

78 minSAVE! It is Smith who goes for goal again from the free kick, and he almost gets a lucky break for his second of the match. His initial effort deflects off an orange shirt and loops towards the far corner. Cierzniak is forced to change direction quickly and throw himself to his left to palm it behind for a corner. Very important stop.

80 minReally good play from Watson as he plays a one-two on the right wing before sending a peach of a delivery across the face of goal that just needed a touch. However, Ciftci was just a yard off the pace and couldn't get on the end of it.

82 minBoth teams have had 10 shots with four on target this afternoon, which gives you some idea of how entertaining a match it has been. It has also been pretty even, as those stats suggest, although Rangers are applying most of the pressure in the closing stages.

83 minGOAL! Rangers 1-3 Dundee United (Nadir Ciftci)

83 minOhhhhhh it is an absolute horror show for Simonsen! Foster gives the ball back to his keeper, whose attempted pass or touch is dreadful and gives the ball straight to Ciftci. The striker then has the simple task of taking it past the embarrassed keeper and slotting it into the empty net. What a huge, huge mistake that was from Simonsen.

85 minMackay-Steven looks to add salt to the wound as he drives forward from midfield before firing a shot narrowly past the post. Suddenly things are looking incredibly bright for United, who will surely be playing in next month's final now.

86 minDUNDEE UNITED SUB: The visitors make another change to run down the clock as Morgaro Gomis comes on for Robertson.

88 minYELLOW CARDs! Handbags late on as Armstrong and Black get involved in a tangle, resulting in a yellow card for both players. Black was looking for trouble there, and Armstrong got sucked in. He won't want to miss the final through suspension so there is no need to rise to the bait there.

90 minGreat save from Cierzniak down low to his left to deny Mohsni, who powered a header towards the bottom corner. However, the flag was up, so it wouldn't have mattered even if the keeper didn't make the save. I'm not quite sure why the flag was raised, however, as no-one appeared to be offside.

90+1 minThere will be a minimum of three minutes added time at the end of this match. The Scottish Cup final draws ever nearer for Dundee United!

90+2 minDundee United pour forward on a counter-attack as they look to add a late fourth goal, but Rangers somehow manage to deal with the danger despite being outnumbered in the middle. This is a major blow for McCoist and Rangers, it must be said.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Rangers 1-3 Dundee United

90+3 minDUNDEE UNITED ARE THROUGH TO THE SCOTTISH CUP FINAL!

2.41pmBobby Madden blows his whistle for the final time today as Dundee United's passage into the final of the Scottish Cup is confirmed. What a match it was as they beat Rangers 3-1 at Ibrox to set up a final against either St Johnstone or Aberdeen at Celtic Park next month. That second semi-final takes place tomorrow and, if it is anywhere near as good as today's was, then we're in for a treat.

2.43pmA mixture of missed chances and defensive errors cost Rangers in this game, with two of United's goals being avoidable and the other coming courtesy of a stroke of bad luck. The hosts' goal also had a hint of fortune about it as the keeper should have saved it, but United were simply more clinical than Rangers today, and that proved to be the difference between the two sides. It is a big blow for McCoist, who will now find himself under even more pressure having once again failed in his bid to bring a cup back to Ibrox.

2.45pmRight, that is all we have time for this afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what was a cracking match as Dundee United knocked Rangers out of the Scottish Cup for the third year in a row courtesy of a 3-1 win at Ibrox. Stick around for our match report, and if you want more live football we have plenty on offer from the Premier League and, later, the FA Cup semi-final. For now, though, it is goodbye from me!

Gavin Gunning of Dundee United during the SPL match from Tannadice Park Dundee on August 19, 2012
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