Rangers lose again

Dundee United 2 Rangers 1

Dundee United 2 Rangers 1

New Dundee United manager Craig Levein marked his first game in charge with a 2-1 win over Rangers at Tannadice.

Charlie Adam had given Gers the lead but goals from Garry Kenneth and Lee Mair secured all three points for United.

A first home win in the SPL since March allowed Levein’s charges to drag themselves off the bottom of the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

Meanwhile, Rangers were left rueing a missed opportunity to overtake Hearts in second place.

Last week’s 5-1 defeat to Falkirk had cost Craig Brewster his job and new boss Levein rang the changes for the visit of Gers.

Out went Euan McLean, Lee Wilkie, David Proctor, Gregg Burnett, Grant Smith, Noel Hunt and David Goodwillie; in came Derek Stillie, Christian Kalvenes, Mark Kerr, Craig Conway, Kenneth, Collin Samuel and David Robertson.

A touchline ban picked up during his short spell at Raith Rovers meant Levein watched today’s match from the stand, giving him the opportunity to evaluate his new squad.

Meanwhile, Rangers were under pressure to build on Thursday’s UEFA Cup win over Maccabi Haifa and close the gap on SPL leaders Celtic.

Manager Paul Le Guen made two changes for the trip to Tannadice.

Sasa Papac’s appearances for Austria Vienna in the Champions League means he is cup-tied for UEFA Cup matches but he was drafted back into the heart of defence alongside Brahim Hemdani.

That meant Karl Svensson was back on the bench, alongside Kris Boyd, who was dropped in favour of Thomas Buffel.

Rangers should have taken the lead in the first five minutes when Barry Ferguson’s free-kick was collected by Nacho Novo, who raced into the box.

He tried to chip goalkeeper Stillie but too much power behind the shot saw him fire over the crossbar instead.

Ferguson then tried his luck himself with a long-range effort, which flashed across the face of goal and wide.

Rangers had most of the possession but a United defence – who had lost 16 goals in the last four games – was proving stubborn to break down.

United’s first real chance came when Samuel raced into the box but his shot was weak and easily held at the near post by goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Novo had the opportunity to redeem his earlier miss when he latched on to an Alan Hutton ball and tried to place his shot in the top corner.

But he sent the effort whizzing across goal and wide instead.

At the other end of the park, Papac almost blasted the ball into the back of his own net, before David Robertson forced a great save from the resultant corner.

Samuel made way for Goodwillie at the break and the United youngster almost had an immediate impact on the game.

Conway sent a ferocious cross into the box but Barry Robson also went for the ball and Goodwillie’s header was weak amid the confusion.

It was Rangers who took the lead instead after 49 minutes.

Novo picked out Adam in front of goal and he coolly slotted home from close range to grab his fourth goal in five games.

He could have added to that tally moments later when he was released into the box by Ferguson, before attempting to lob the keeper, but Stillie did well to get a hand to the ball.

United almost levelled through Conway’s terrific left-footed drive but he fired just over, before Rangers made their first change when Boyd replaced Buffel.

United’s hard work paid off after 76 minutes when a Robson corner broke to Kenneth, who sent a downward header crashing into the back of the net.

The home side then screamed for a penalty when Mair went to ground under pressure from Adam but the pleas were ignored by referee Kenny Clark.

With 81 minutes gone, United were ahead anyway. Conway whipped a free-kick to the near post which was met by Mair, who sent a glancng header past the Gers keeper.

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