The Dundee United Football Club Historical Archive. Preserving United History Since 2006.
Jackie McNamara made four changes for the hugely anticipated Scottish Cup Semi Final against Rangers. Keith Watson, Sean Dillon, Ryan Dow and Brian Graham all dropped to the bench following the defeat to Celtic last weekend. In came Mark Wilson, John Souttar, Ryan Gauld and Gary Mackay-Steven in a line up full of attacking options. The Rangers side included Richard Foster, Lee McCulloch, Ian Black, Jon Daly and Dean Shiels who between them shared a wealth of top flight experience. Backed by an 11000 strong Tangerine Army, United were looking to progress to the final for the first time since winning the competition in 2010.From kick off it was the Tannadice side who immediately controlled possession but a defensive slip up gifted Rangers an opportunity. Fraser Aird pounced on the loose ball and surged forward forcing a corner. From the delivery there was panic at the heart of the United defence as both McCulloch and Moshni looked about to score before the ball was desperately hacked away. The Tangerines needed something to settle their nerves and the perfect tonic arrived in 23 minutes as they opened the scoring. After an earlier shout for a penalty for a foul on Gauld was turned away, Nadir Ciftci then won a free kick at the edge of the box. His effort struck the wall but wasnt properly cleared and United kept the pressure on. Gavin Gunning headed the ball right back into the danger area and Stuart Armstrong beat the offside trap before neatly prodding the ball in off the post. In similar fashion to how they opened the scoring the Terrors made sure they paid for this miss as they doubled their advantage. Ciftci won the ball in at the corner before feeding Gauld on the bye line who played a clever cut back into the danger area. Armstrong steered the ball into the path path of Mackay-Steven whose shot deflected off Moshni and looped into the net sending the Arabs in attendance into raptures. Steven Smith stepped up and his dipping left foot strike beat Cierzniak at the near post to reduce the deficit. A Mark Wilson free kick and then a Ciftci from long range effort then failed to test Simonsen when both would liked to have done better. This followed a strong appeal for a United penalty as Ciftci went down under Simonsen inside the area but Bobby Madden waved the appeals away. In the end United held a slender 2-1 advantage going into half time.Following on from such an open half of football it was always going to be tough for the teams to maintain the same level of energy and the second period was a different affair. In 47 minutes a teasing Robertson cross was just too far ahead of Ciftci inside the six yard box. Chances were less frequent and despite gathering the ball in good areas the final killer pass was often missing for United. Rangers were trying their best to gather momentum but it was still set pieces and long range efforts which were looking like their best hope of drawing level. Mark Wilson received a yellow card for fouling Shiels just outside the box but thankfully this time Smith struck the wall with the free kick. Nicky Law then saw a shot blocked in 65 minutes as nerves grew in the United camp. It then took the save of the match from Cierzniak in the 77th minute to prevent an equaliser. Gavin Gunning had knocked over Shiels outside the box and earned a yellow card as a result. Smith again took the free kick which this time clipped the wall before looping towards the net. The United keeper reacted superbly to claw the ball out for a corner when a goal appeared certain. Moments later a low Watson cross into the six-yard box was only missed by a fraction by Ciftci, with a United goal at this stage surely going to clinch their place in the final. Right when it was needed that goal then came in the 83rd minute for the Tangerines. A long ball from the back was chased by Ciftci and when Simonsen took a bad touch from the pass back the Turk pounced on the loose ball. Uniteds top scorer sidestepped the goalkeeper and walked the ball into the net, celebrating even before putting the ball in the net, to the absolute joy of the packed stand of Arabs behind. Mackay-Steven went close with a long range effort shortly after as the Terrors closed the remainder of the game out to secure their final berth.Match Photos courtesy of Riki Grauer - More photos available at:Dundee United Official Flickr Page