Football: Rangers enjoy seven-goal feast on Ferguson's return

Rangers 7 Dundee United 1
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RANGERS SWEPT into the final of the CIS Insurance Cup at Hampden Park last night with a late deluge of four goals in the final 14 minutes that demolished Dundee United.

The Rangers manager, Alex McLeish, is confident his side's 7-1 romp will help them in their title tussle with Celtic. McLeish said: "We should have an impetus from that performance. Celtic have had more momentum than us over the past few years, but we will certainly put up the fight of our lives."

Nacho Novo and Steven Thompson each scored twice and Rangers will meet Motherwell in the final on 20 March. The return of the prodigal son, Barry Ferguson, had his name ringing around Hampden, but Rangers fans were unable to get much of a glimpse of their former captain after his pounds 4.5m move from Blackburn Rovers. Lack of match fitness kept Ferguson on the bench until the 69th minute, but McLeish said: "He is a great sub, isn't he? What a reception he got. Every fan backed him to the hilt. And you can see he is a player his team-mates look up to. He will drive the guys on."

Rangers cut Dundee United to shreds and it took just six minutes for them to go ahead through Novo and just 11 minutes later Prso stretched Rangers' lead. However, Dundee's goalkeeper Nick Colgan made amends seven minutes before the interval when he saved a penalty from Novo.

Dundee United got back into the contest when Jason Scotland struck in the 49th minute, but Buffel restored that two-goal margin with a side-foot finish from Novo's cross in 67 minutes and then the roof fell in. Fernando Ricksen added another from a 76th-minute free-kick and then Thompson swept in a shot from 10 yards.

Rangers (4-4-2): Waterreus; Ross, Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Ball; Buffel, Ricksen, Rae (Ferguson, 69), Vignal; Novo, Prso (Thompson, 74). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Namouchi, Malcolm.

Dundee United (4-4-2): Colgan; Mair (Dodds, 74), Ritchie, McCracken, Archibald (Duff, 46); Wilson, Kerr, McInnes (Scotland, 46), Robson; McIntyre, Crawford. Substitutes not used: Grady, Bullock (gk).

Referee: H Dallas.