Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Rangers beat Dundee United to keep Celtic’s title celebrations on hold

Rangers’ James Tavernier scores penalty against Dundee United (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Rangers’ James Tavernier scores penalty against Dundee United (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Rangers cut the deficit behind cinch Premiership leader Celtic to six points with a one-sided 2-0 win over Dundee United at Ibrox but the title remains on course for Parkhead.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst rang the changes following Thursday’s thrilling Europa League semi-final win over RB Leipzig and it took until the 55th minute to get the breakthrough when skipper James Tavernier scored from the spot for his 17th goal of the season.

Substitute Amad Diallo added a second in the 78th minute to reduce the gap behind Celtic with two fixtures remaining, but Rangers have a vastly inferior goal difference of 20 which makes the Hoops overwhelming favourites to reclaim the title.

But Ibrox eyes are elsewhere at the moment.

The euphoria from the 3-1 win over Leipzig still permeated the air in Govan with talk of the Seville final against Eintracht Frankfurt on May 18 the main topic of conversation.

There was surely no one inside the stadium who thought the title could realistically stay at Ibrox and the focus was on Spain.

Van Bronckhorst shuffled his pack with a first start for 18-year-old central defender Leon King while Jon McLaughlin, James Sands, Steven Davis, Aaron Ramsey, Scott Arfield and Fashion Sakala were reinstated

United boss Tam Courts, whose side went into the game in fourth place, gave a first start to 18-year-old midfielder Mathew Anim Cudjoe.

Midfielder Arfield, who signed a new contract on Saturday, was playing the false nine position as Rangers pressed the Taysiders from the start, with Sakala drawing a good save from United keeper Benjamin Siegrist in the ninth minute with an angled drive.

The Tannadice number one then made an even better save from Arfield’s close-range shot after the playmaker had linked up brilliantly with Davis inside the box.

Rangers kept probing and after the half-hour mark Sakala pulled a Connor Goldson pass out of the air inside the box but drove wide of the target from 12 yards.

Ramsey then crashed a shot off the post just before the break but the offside flag had been raised.

Courts’ side had offered nothing in attack by the time referee Steven McLean blew for half-time.

Diallo, on for Scott Wright for the start of the second half, made a yard of space for himself but fired a shot well wide before Siegrist parried another effort from Sakala to safety.

However, moments later the Swiss keeper bundled Sakala to the ground as he got on the end of a Ramsey pass and up stepped the unerring Tavernier to drive the penalty into the corner to put the hosts ahead.

The Rangers captain, left-back Borna Barisic and Arfield made way for youngsters Alex Lowry, Charlie McCann and Adam Devine, the latter making his debut at 19.

On-loan Manchester United forward Diallo had the ball in the net in the 69th minute but the offside was up and there was no protest.

United still remained toothless but in the 74th minute a slack pass back from Goldson had Gers goalkeeper McLaughlin moving sharply to keep it from crossing the line.

Four minutes later, however, the points were safe when Sakala drove towards the United goal and played in Diallo who deftly clipped the ball over Siegrist and the home side could have added more as they dominated until the final whistle.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]