Dundee United saw off the challenge of a spirited Rangers side to set up a scenario whereby Celtic could win the Scottish Premier League title at Ibrox.

Keith Watson's stunning 20-yard strike fired the home side ahead before Jon Daly doubled the lead from close-range.

John Rankin's own goal gave Rangers hope after Sone Aluko's shot from inside the penalty area was deflected in.

But they could not level and Celtic could triumph on their rivals' turf.

That situation would unfold if Motherwell fail to win at Kilmarnock the day before next Sunday's Old Firm encounter.

Ally McCoist's side were by far the most threatening in a stilted start and Steven Davis fed Salim Kerkar after Sean Dillon dallied on the ball.

However, the French-Algerian saw any opportunity snuffed out as Dusan Pernis rushed to clear from the edge of his box.

United were failing to find first gear and were almost made to pay for their lethargy.

Kerkar slalomed past the challenge of a handful of United defenders before knocking it past Gavin Gunning. However, he could not direct his left-foot effort from close range on target.

Peter Houston's men then stunned their opponents as they took the lead with a bolt from the blue after 37 minutes.

Rangers failed to deal with Paul Dixon's long throw-in into the penalty area and the ball sat up perfectly for Watson to drill past McGregor into the top right-hand corner of the net from 20 yards.

United started the second half brightly and doubled their advantage two minutes after the break.

Dixon pressured Andrew Mitchell, allowing Mackay-Steven to gain possession and send a sumptuous cross over from the left between two defenders for Jon Daly to finish first time.

Sone Aluko replaced debutant Mitchell a couple of minutes later after the youngster's error as Rangers manager McCoist searched for a route back into the game.

The Nigerian was the catalyst Rangers needed and on 59 minutes he conjured up some sublime skill with a stepover and a nutmeg to advance into the penalty area.

His shot was deflected by the sliding challenge of John Rankin and looped up over Pernis to reduce the deficit.

Rangers rallied and Bedoya's left-footed drive was easily saved by the Tannadice keeper before Lee McCulloch, at the other end, bravely headed Johnny Russell's goal-bound drive over the bar.

However, they could not find a way through again and now face the prospect of their age-old rivals toasting the league championship on their home turf.

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (4)

Dundee United

  • 01 Pernis
  • 02 Dillon
  • 03 Dixon
  • 12 Watson Booked
  • 18 Gunning Booked
  • 06 Flood
  • 08 Robertson
  • 11 Rankin
  • 17 Mackay-Steven (Armstrong - 86' )
  • 09 Daly
  • 15 Russell (Ryan - 86' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Banks
  • 05 Kenneth
  • 14 Douglas
  • 07 Ryan
  • 10 Swanson
  • 16 Armstrong
  • 22 Dow

Rangers

  • 01 McGregor
  • 12 Wallace
  • 32 Perry Booked
  • 06 McCulloch Booked
  • 07 Edu
  • 08 Davis
  • 21 Bedoya (Hemmings - 83' )
  • 40 Andrew Mitchell Booked (Aluko - 51' )
  • 41 McCabe Booked
  • 28 Kerkar
  • 34 Little

Substitutes

  • 25 Alexander
  • 37 Christopher Hegarty
  • 19 Aluko
  • 15 Healy
  • 38 Hemmings
Ref: Winter
Att: 9,464

Match Stats

Shots

8 12

On target

4 8

Corners

3 6

Fouls

8 16

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:18 Full time

Full Time The match has reached full-time.

90:00 +1:22

Effort from deep inside the area by Andrew Little clears the bar.

90:00 +0:14

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Salim Kerkar from the left by-line, clearance by Willo Flood.

88:25

Andrew Little takes a shot. Blocked by Gavin Gunning.

85:11 Substitution

Substitution Richie Ryan replaces Johnny Russell.

85:11 Substitution

Substitution (Dundee Utd) makes a substitution, with Stuart Armstrong coming on for Gary Mackay-Steven.

83:58

Foul by Sean Dillon on Kane Hemmings, free kick awarded. Rhys McCabe restarts play with the free kick.

82:18

Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.

82:18 Substitution

Substitution Kane Hemmings joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alejandro Bedoya.

82:18

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven by Maurice Edu.

81:43

Steven Davis takes a outswinging corner.

78:16

Outswinging corner taken by Salim Kerkar from the left by-line, save by Dusan Pernis.

77:56

Sone Aluko takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.

76:48

Paul Dixon takes the direct free kick.

76:48 Booking

Booking The referee shows Rhys McCabe a yellow card.

76:42

Rhys McCabe concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Mackay-Steven.

74:18

Free kick taken by Sean Dillon.

74:18 Booking

Booking The referee shows Ross Perry a yellow card.

74:12

Free kick awarded for a foul by Ross Perry on Johnny Russell.

73:32

Andrew Little takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.

71:52

Foul by Keith Watson on Andrew Little, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Steven Davis, clearance by Sean Dillon.

69:16

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gavin Gunning by Andrew Little. Free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.

68:30

Corner from right by-line taken by Steven Davis.

67:09

Effort on goal by Sean Dillon from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

66:25

Inswinging corner taken by Gary Mackay-Steven from the right by-line.

65:16

Maurice Edu concedes a free kick for a foul on John Rankin. Paul Dixon sends in a cross, Johnny Russell takes a shot. Save made by Allan McGregor.

64:45

Alejandro Bedoya takes a shot. Dusan Pernis makes a save.

63:57

Free kick crossed by Paul Dixon, clearance by Rhys McCabe.

63:57 Booking

Booking Lee McCulloch receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

63:45

Gary Mackay-Steven fouled by Lee McCulloch, the ref awards a free kick.

63:12

Foul by Johnny Russell on Lee McCulloch, free kick awarded. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.

62:19

Andrew Little gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven. Gavin Gunning takes the direct free kick.

59:44

Assist by Sone Aluko.

59:44 Goal scored

Goal! - John Rankin - Dundee U 2 - 1 Rangers John Rankin puts the ball into his own net. Dundee Utd 2-1 Rangers.

59:44 Goal scored

Goal! - Sone Aluko - Dundee U 2 - 1 Rangers Sone Aluko finds the net with a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 2-1 Rangers.

57:31

Steven Davis produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.

56:41

Johnny Russell fouled by Lee Wallace, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Willo Flood from right wing, Lee McCulloch makes a clearance.

55:34

Foul by Alejandro Bedoya on Gary Mackay-Steven, free kick awarded. Paul Dixon sends in a cross, Close range headed effort by Gavin Gunning clears the crossbar.

53:59

Unfair challenge on Andrew Little by Sean Dillon results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Steven Davis, clearance made by Scott Robertson.

51:59

The ball is delivered by John Rankin, Jon Daly has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the target.

50:57 Substitution

Substitution Sone Aluko on for Andrew Mitchell.

49:20

Shot from 25 yards by Jon Daly. Allan McGregor makes a save.

46:52

Assist by Gary Mackay-Steven.

46:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Jon Daly - Dundee U 2 - 0 Rangers Jon Daly fires in a goal from close range high into the middle of the goal. Dundee Utd 2-0 Rangers.

46:50

Gary Mackay-Steven sends in a cross,

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:00 +0:10 Half time

Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.

44:27

Allan McGregor takes the direct free kick.

44:27 Booking

Booking Gavin Gunning receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

43:43

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Willo Flood, Gavin Gunning concedes a free kick for a foul on Maurice Edu.

39:31

Lee Wallace takes a shot. Gavin Gunning gets a block in.

39:16

Salim Kerkar takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Sean Dillon.

38:57

Andrew Mitchell takes a shot. Sean Dillon gets a block in.

37:50

Maurice Edu challenges Gary Mackay-Steven unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Dixon restarts play with the free kick.

36:39 Goal scored

Goal! - Keith Watson - Dundee U 1 - 0 Rangers Keith Watson fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 1-0 Rangers.

35:46

Corner taken left-footed by Gary Mackay-Steven, Lee McCulloch makes a clearance.

34:56

Effort from deep inside the area by Salim Kerkar misses to the right of the goal.

29:42

The ball is swung over by Lee Wallace, Alejandro Bedoya produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.

26:23

Lee McCulloch challenges Gary Mackay-Steven unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Paul Dixon from left channel.

20:48 Booking

Booking Andrew Mitchell booked for unsporting behaviour.

19:14

Salim Kerkar gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Rankin. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Paul Dixon from right channel, Rhys McCabe manages to make a clearance.

14:24

Lee Wallace takes the free kick.

14:24 Booking

Booking Keith Watson receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

13:55

Lee Wallace fouled by Keith Watson, the ref awards a free kick.

12:50

Shot from outside the penalty box by Gary Mackay-Steven goes wide right of the goal.

12:00

Jon Daly fouled by Lee Wallace, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Keith Watson.

11:29

Corner taken by Salim Kerkar from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Johnny Russell.

11:20

Steven Davis takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.

9:54

Steven Davis challenges Johnny Russell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paul Dixon.

7:52

The referee blows for offside. Dusan Pernis takes the indirect free kick.

6:34

Andrew Mitchell gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Dixon. Direct free kick taken by Paul Dixon.

4:15

Gavin Gunning gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Little. Rhys McCabe takes the free kick.

3:40

Andrew Mitchell challenges Paul Dixon unfairly and gives away a free kick. John Rankin takes the direct free kick.

2:00

John Rankin concedes a free kick for a foul on Andrew Mitchell. Rhys McCabe takes the free kick.

0:00

The game begins.

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