Dundee United secured a Scottish Cup final place with an opportunist, but ultimately comfortable, victory over Rangers.

Stuart Armstrong finished decisively for the opening goal, which came after the Ibrox side spurned a clear chance.

Gary Mackay-Steven's second came via a deflection and the Rangers goalkeeper Steve Simonsen made an error for Nadir Ciftci's third.

The Ibrox side had made it 2-1 with a first-half Steven Smith free-kick.

But they were unable to truly threaten United's passage to a final meeting with either Aberdeen or St Johnstone on 17 May.

Whoever Jackie McNamara's side face, the occasion is likely to lack the relentless intensity of this contest.

Interview - Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara

The game initially had to accept second billing, since the competition was between the two sets of supporters and their goading of each other. The noise spilled from the Ibrox stands as if oblivious to events on the pitch.

There was soon a hectic urgency to the play, though, and composure was an early victim of the heightened atmosphere. There were pent-up emotions to be released, and the quality of the game suffered from the raucous surroundings.

There was excitement and zeal as the two sets of players hared around the Ibrox pitch, but not enough self-control to bring some poise to the proceedings.

Rangers had the most cause to rue that lack of restraint, since they should have opened the scoring when Dean Shiels was sent through on goal. The forward hurried his finish, though, and scuffed the ball wide.

It became a galling miss for Rangers, because minutes later a hopeful Gavin Gunning header sent Armstrong clear.

Nadir Ciftci was returning from an offside position but was deemed not to be interfering with play and Armstrong took advantage of the confusion to clip a shot past Simonsen that kissed a post before nestling in the net.

A pattern was established, since Rangers had the better patches of play, but could not influence the outcome.

Stuart Armstrong and Nadir Ciftci

Armstrong (left) beat the offside trap to put United ahead

When Fraser Aird was free in the area, he laid the ball back to Jon Daly, only for the striker to direct a shot rashly over the bar.

Moments later, Richard Foster failed to clear his lines and allowed Ryan Gauld to burrow into the Rangers penalty area before shunting into the path of Armstrong. He could not connect cleanly and neither, subsequently, could Mackay-Steven, but the ball looped off Bilel Mohsni, over Simonsen, and into the net.

Smith restored some hope for Rangers with a free-kick that squeezed between Radoslaw Cierzniak and the base of his left-hand post.

That goal came just before half-time and, athough Rangers continued to enjoy greater possession after the interval, their frailties could not be disguised.

Mohsni was often hapless in possession, attacks were intermittent and haphazard in nature, and there was not enough link-up play between the midfield and the forwards.

United's midfield struggled to retain possession, and their defence often sat too deep, but their four front players were a constant threat, not least because of the calamities that the Rangers defence were capable of.

When Foster broke up one move and passed back to Simonsen, the goalkeeper hesitated before stubbing the ball straight at Ciftci. The striker rounded the stricken goalkeeper and was celebrating even before he rolled the ball into the empty net.

Rangers restored something of their reputation with this display, but United were the more clinical side.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (4)

Rangers

  • 01 Simonsen
  • 02 Foster
  • 05 Smith
  • 08 Black Booked
  • 06 McCulloch
  • 03 Mohsni
  • 04 Aird (Clark - 63' )
  • 07 Peralta Sosa
  • 09 Daly
  • 10 Shiels
  • 11 Law

Substitutes

  • 12 Clark
  • 14 Hutton
  • 15 Faure
  • 16 Gallacher
  • 17 Crawford
  • 18 Sanchez Cribari
  • 19 Gallagher

Dundee United

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 16 Wilson Booked (Watson - 61' )
  • 26 Robertson (Gomis - 85' )
  • 08 Rankin
  • 20 Souttar
  • 05 Gunning Booked
  • 19 Gauld (Dow - 67' )
  • 06 Paton
  • 21 Ciftci
  • 10 Armstrong Booked
  • 11 Mackay-Steven

Substitutes

  • 02 Dillon
  • 09 Graham
  • 12 Watson
  • 18 Dow
  • 25 McCallum
  • 27 Gomis
  • 29 El Alagui
Ref: Bobby Madden
Att: 41,059

Match Stats

Shots

12 10

On target

3 6

Corners

9 1

Fouls

11 18

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Rangers 1, Dundee United 3.

90:00 +3:26 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Rangers 1, Dundee United 3.

90:00 +3:12

Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

90:00 +1:09

Arnold Peralta (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:09

Foul by Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United).

90:00 +0:19

Foul by Lee McCulloch (Rangers).

90:00 +0:19

Keith Watson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

89:54

Hand ball by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

88:46

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Paul Paton.

87:23 Booking

Booking Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

87:18 Booking

Booking Ian Black (Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

86:47

Foul by Ian Black (Rangers).

86:47

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

85:43

Attempt missed. Richard Foster (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

85:21

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:21

Foul by Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United).

84:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Morgaro Gomis replaces Andrew Robertson.

84:32

Attempt missed. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

82:35 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 1, Dundee United 3. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

82:00

Jon Daly (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

81:59

Foul by Gavin Gunning (Dundee United).

80:06

Foul by Jon Daly (Rangers).

80:06

Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

78:00

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:59

Foul by Dean Shiels (Rangers).

77:35

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

77:07

Attempt saved. Steven Smith (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

75:46 Booking

Booking Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

75:40

Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

75:40

Foul by Gavin Gunning (Dundee United).

74:28

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Bilel Mohsni.

72:04

Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

72:04

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

71:41

Foul by Nicky Clark (Rangers).

71:41

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

70:42

Foul by Nicky Law (Rangers).

70:42

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:06

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Keith Watson.

69:28

Arnold Peralta (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

69:28

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Dundee United).

67:55

Attempt missed. Arnold Peralta (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

66:34 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Ryan Dow replaces Ryan Gauld.

65:10

Attempt blocked. Nicky Law (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

64:31

Nicky Clark (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

64:31

Foul by Keith Watson (Dundee United).

62:44 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Rangers. Nicky Clark replaces Fraser Aird.

62:18

Foul by Dean Shiels (Rangers).

62:18

John Rankin (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61:21

Hand ball by Fraser Aird (Rangers).

61:00

Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

60:58

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

60:14 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Keith Watson replaces Mark Wilson.

59:40

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:40

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

58:06

Attempt blocked. Steven Smith (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

57:19 Booking

Booking Mark Wilson (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

57:09

Dean Shiels (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:09

Foul by Mark Wilson (Dundee United).

56:38

Foul by Lee McCulloch (Rangers).

56:38

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:41

Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

51:41

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

48:19

Attempt missed. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

45:00

Second Half begins Rangers 1, Dundee United 2.

45:00 +2:01 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Rangers 1, Dundee United 2.

44:19

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

43:46

Attempt missed. Mark Wilson (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.

43:00

Foul by Arnold Peralta (Rangers).

43:00

Andrew Robertson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:13 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 1, Dundee United 2. Steven Smith (Rangers) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.

40:31

Ian Black (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:31

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United).

38:56

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by John Rankin.

37:19

Arnold Peralta (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37:19

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

36:36

Arnold Peralta (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:36

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

35:19 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 0, Dundee United 2. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ryan Gauld.

34:12

Attempt missed. Jon Daly (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

32:00

Arnold Peralta (Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

31:58

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

31:01

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Mark Wilson.

30:34

Nicky Law (Rangers) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box.

29:29

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Andrew Robertson.

28:45

Foul by Andrew Robertson (Dundee United).

28:45

Arnold Peralta (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:19

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

22:17 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Rangers 0, Dundee United 1. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

19:43

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by John Rankin.

18:40

Attempt missed. Dean Shiels (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

17:46

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

17:46

Foul by Richard Foster (Rangers).

17:02

Foul by Ryan Gauld (Dundee United).

17:02

Bilel Mohsni (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

13:28

Attempt missed. Fraser Aird (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

7:21

Attempt missed. Jon Daly (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.

5:52

Attempt saved. Andrew Robertson (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

3:53

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

3:20

Attempt saved. Jon Daly (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

2:37

Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Mark Wilson.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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