Rangers, who started the game without Richard Gough, their injured captain, had every incentive to go for the victory after the failure of Celtic to beat Kilmarnock the previous night. Yet the home side started in tentative mood and, although Jorg Albertz shot powerfully wide in the 11th minute, United, playing with the confidence that comes from a 14-game unbeaten run, seized the initiative with a well-worked goal on the counter-attack.
Maurice Malpas swept a long ball to Kjell Olafsson, who made ground on the left before squaring the ball for Robbie Winters, who did not have to break stride before shooting past Andy Goram.
Goram, who had been an injury doubt before the game, reacted well in the 40th minute to push away a Winters header, while the Rangers response was a powerful Albertz free-kick, which was deflected wide.
United rocked Ibrox with a second goal a minute after the restart, again scored on the counter-attack, on this occasion the scorer and provider changing roles. From a Rangers corner, United broke with Winters making ground on the right, and his cross was met by Olafsson who controlled the ball before steering his shot into the net.
Within two minutes Winters blasted a shot over the bar as again the visitors underlined their menace.
Rangers, looking to Brian Laudrup for inspiration, almost forced a breakthrough from Charlie Miller, who turned his man at the edge of the penalty area, but after shaping to shoot he elected to pass and the chance was lost.
Rangers (3-5-2): Goram; Petric (Steven, h-t), McLaren, Bjorklund; Cleland, Miller, Ferguson, Albertz (McCoist, 62), Moore; Durie, Laudrup. Substitute not used: Dibble (gk).
Dundee United (3-1-4-2): Dykstra; Pressley, Malpas, Perry; Pedersen; McLaren (McKinnon, 86), Zetterlund, Dolan, Bowman; Olafsson, Winters (McSwegan, 90). Substitute not used: Sinclair (gk).
Referee: T M McCurry (Glasgow).Reuse content