Daly scores brace as Tannadice side ease past Stranraer

Stranraer 0 Dundee United 5

Stranraer 0 Dundee United 5

A dominant first-half performance from Dundee United ensured they made comfortable work of Stranraer in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

The Scottish Premier League side made the trip to Stair Park keen to avoid a potential upset and never looked in any danger as Johnny Russell’s hat-trick and a brace from the Republic of Ireland's Jon Daly secured a routine win.

It was the first time the two sides had met since August 2004, when the Tannadice side won 3-1. Stranraer featured Stevie Aitken that day and he took charge of the home side as they welcomed the SPL club to Stair Park.

Home goalkeeper David Mitchell was called into action within the opening five minutes.

A corner was cut back to Stuart Armstrong who spotted the goalkeeper a few yards off his line. He tried to float the ball over Mitchell from the edge of the box but the number one backpedalled to tip it over the crossbar.

Still, that only delayed the opener by a few minutes.

Barry Douglas’ cross took a kind deflection off right back Mark Staunton and fell kindly to Johnny Russell. The striker then hit it first time to bury it between Mitchell and the near post from just six yards.

The visitors had their noses in front and were content to keep the ball and pass it in the midfield.

Even when the Blues got a foot on the ball it was quickly recovered by the hungry-looking opposition.

Finally, they added a second on 26 minutes and again Douglas and Russell were involved.

The left-back again pushed forward and whipped the ball in where it was controlled by Rudi Skacel.

Last year’s cup winner, with Hearts, then squared it to Russell who turned his man and rolled the ball into the bottom left corner.

Any chance of a comeback looked remote and was surely extinguished before the break.

Once again the ball came from the left but this time it was Russell’s strike partner Jon Daly who scored.

The home side could not clear their lines and after Russell was denied it came to Daly to bury it from close range.

The second half continued much in the same manner with Stranraer pushing forward but unable to really threaten Radoslaw Cierzniak’s goal.

Still, it was United who looked the more dangerous and Keith Watson was only denied by the crossbar.

The home side did not learn their lesson though and Daly would grab his second just minutes later.

This time it was a corner from the left and when the hosts failed to clear the striker was lurking to bundle it home.

It looked like being a long day for Stranraer when Russell completed his hat-trick just moments later.

Mitchell blocked substitute Michael Gardyne’s low angled shot with his legs but the striker rattled in the rebound from the edge of the 18-yard box.

The game slowed down after that, with both teams content to keep the ball without any real chances falling to either team as they simply kept possession.

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