Ianis Hagi's goal put an end to a strong opening half hour by Dundee United
Ianis Hagi’s goal put an end to a strong opening half hour by Dundee United

Rangers need just 10 more points to win the Scottish Premiership after overwhelming Dundee United at Ibrox.

Ianis Hagi and Ryan Kent gave Steven Gerrard’s side an interval lead after Lawrence Shankland and Louis Appere spurned chances for a sprightly United.

Joe Aribo netted a stunning third to kill the game, before goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist’s clearance cannoned off Alfredo Morelos and into the net.

Borna Barisic missed a penalty before Marc McNulty got a late consolation.

Rangers have now played 30 of their 38 league fixtures and lead nearest challengers Celtic by 18 points before they visit Ross County at 19:30 GMT.

As their final game before the split is an Old Firm derby, Gerrard’s side could claim the title by winning their next three league fixtures.

Micky Mellon’s United are a point off sixth-placed St Mirren, who have a game in hand.

The visitors carved out the first chance when Shankland was played in on the edge of the Rangers box after a fine move and went beyond his man, only for Allan McGregor to smother the shot.

United took encouragement and Nicky Clark sent Appere through, McGregor racing off his line to make the block.

Rangers, without injured captain and top scorer James Tavernier, responded and Aribo’s bending shot gave Siegrist the chance to impress with a touch wide.

Steven Gerrard went to his bench as early as the 27th minute with Glen Kamara taking over from Ryan Jack and McGregor kept his side on terms again by beating away Appere’s powerful drive.

United had enjoyed the better of it, but Rangers grabbed the lead as Aribo patiently probed on the left edge of the box before Hagi’s flick diverted his shot and wrong-footed Siegrist.

A second goal followed within three minutes. Barisic’s cross was headed up by Leon Balogun and Kent’s strike came off the unfortunate Ryan Edwards to again leave Siegrist helpless.

Two deflected goals and the tide had turned. Steven Davis volleyed wide before Siegrist denied Morelos at close range with a stunning save, the striker also unable to force in the rebound.

And Aribo got the goal of the game three minutes into the second period, playing a one-two with Morelos on the left and thundering a shot into the opposite corner.

Morelos came close with a header but did find the net somewhat unintentionally when Siegrist’s panicked clearance cannoned back off him and flashed into the net.

But Siegrist redeemed himself by parrying away Barisic’s spot-kick after Jeando Fuchs was penalised for a challenge on Morelos.

Defender Jack Simpson made his Rangers debut as a replacement for Filip Helander but would not be part of a clean sheet.

Substitute McNulty exchanged passes with Shankland and swept a low shot past McGregor to become the second visiting player to score a league goal at Ibrox this season.

And 16-year-old defender Kerr Smith made a late debut appearance off the bench for United.

Man of the match – Joe Aribo

Joe Aribo has a shot that is turned by Ianis Hagi
An assist (pictured) and a goal made for a fine day’s work for the Rangers midfielder

What did we learn?

Rangers played most of Thursday’s 4-3 Europa League win over Royal Antwerp without Tavernier and so how the team would function in the marauding right-back’s absence was not a complete mystery.

Stand-in Balogun showed his attacking credentials at the second goal and was solid defensively.

Off the back of two wins, United’s confidence was evident in the first half and they performed with ambition in the opening half hour without taking any of the good chances they created.

A top-six finish in their first season back in the top flight remains a target, albeit games with Aberdeen and Celtic in their next three will make it a tough task.

What did they say?

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told Sky Sports: “I thought we were second best for the first 15, 20 minutes but we started playing with a bit of quality and a bit of style.

“I’m really pleased with a lot of our attacking play. On the back of Europe, it’s a fantastic result for us.”

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon told Sky Sports: “The goals we gave away and the chances we created in the first half… we could have one or two.

“They get deflections for goals and things like that but that’s what teams do at the top end of the league, they seem to go for them.”

What’s next?

Rangers play the home leg of their last-32 tie with Royal Antwerp on Thursday (17:55 GMT). Dundee United visit Kilmarnock on league business on Saturday (15:00).

Player of the match

AriboJoe Aribo

with an average of 7.15

Rangers

  1. Squad number17Player nameAribo

    Average rating

    7.15

  2. Squad number37Player nameArfield

    Average rating

    6.98

  3. Squad number23Player nameWright

    Average rating

    6.91

  4. Squad number14Player nameKent

    Average rating

    6.53

  5. Squad number20Player nameMorelos

    Average rating

    6.49

  6. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor

    Average rating

    6.43

  7. Squad number4Player nameSimpson

    Average rating

    6.32

  8. Squad number18Player nameKamara

    Average rating

    6.29

  9. Squad number7Player nameHagi

    Average rating

    6.29

  10. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

    Average rating

    6.24

  11. Squad number26Player nameBalogun

    Average rating

    6.24

  12. Squad number10Player nameDavis

    Average rating

    6.24

  13. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

    Average rating

    6.22

  14. Squad number9Player nameDefoe

    Average rating

    6.21

  15. Squad number5Player nameHelander

    Average rating

    5.98

  16. Squad number8Player nameJack

    Average rating

    5.56

Dundee United

  1. Squad number1Player nameSiegrist

    Average rating

    6.48

  2. Squad number24Player nameShankland

    Average rating

    5.99

  3. Squad number2Player nameSmith

    Average rating

    5.76

  4. Squad number10Player nameClark

    Average rating

    5.75

  5. Squad number27Player nameAppéré

    Average rating

    5.69

  6. Squad number6Player nameReynolds

    Average rating

    5.58

  7. Squad number12Player nameEdwards

    Average rating

    5.57

  8. Squad number66Player nameFuchs

    Average rating

    5.56

  9. Squad number23Player nameHarkes

    Average rating

    5.47

  10. Squad number18Player nameButcher

    Average rating

    5.36

  11. Squad number9Player nameMcNulty

    Average rating

    5.05

  12. Squad number43Player nameSmith

    Average rating

    4.50

  13. Squad number17Player nameRobson

    Average rating

    1.47

Line-ups

Rangers

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1McGregor
  • 26Balogun
  • 6Goldson
  • 5HelanderSubstituted forSimpsonat 67′minutes
  • 31Barisic
  • 8JackSubstituted forKamaraat 27′minutes
  • 10DavisSubstituted forWrightat 63′minutes
  • 17Aribo
  • 7HagiSubstituted forArfieldat 63′minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forDefoeat 67′minutes
  • 14Kent

Substitutes

  • 4Simpson
  • 9Defoe
  • 11Itten
  • 18Kamara
  • 23Wright
  • 24Stewart
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
  • 61King

Dundee Utd

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 1Siegrist
  • 2Smith
  • 12Edwards
  • 6Reynolds
  • 17RobsonBooked at 51mins
  • 18ButcherBooked at 7mins
  • 66FuchsBooked at 66mins
  • 23HarkesSubstituted forSmithat 90+2′minutes
  • 10Clark
  • 27AppéréSubstituted forMcNultyat 68′minutes
  • 24Shankland

Substitutes

  • 3Spörle
  • 5Connolly
  • 9McNulty
  • 14Hoti
  • 15Chalmers
  • 19Mehmet
  • 20Bolton
  • 30Neilson
  • 43Smith

Referee:
Nick Walsh

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Rangers 4, Dundee United 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Rangers 4, Dundee United 1.

  3. Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Liam Smith.

  4. Substitution, Dundee United. Kerr Smith replaces Ian Harkes.

  5. Attempt saved. Connor Goldson (Rangers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Borna Barisic with a cross.

  6. Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Ryan Edwards.

  7. Attempt blocked. Scott Wright (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Glen Kamara.

  8. Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jamie Robson.

  9. Attempt blocked. Scott Arfield (Rangers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jermain Defoe.

  10. Goal! Rangers 4, Dundee United 1. Marc McNulty (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lawrence Shankland.

  11. Foul by Scott Wright (Rangers).

  12. Mark Reynolds (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Attempt missed. Nicky Clark (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  14. Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.

  15. Attempt missed. Ryan Kent (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Leon Balogun.

  16. Joe Aribo (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Foul by Liam Smith (Dundee United).

  18. Offside, Dundee United. Lawrence Shankland tries a through ball, but Marc McNulty is caught offside.

  19. Joe Aribo (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Foul by Jeando Fuchs (Dundee United).