Dundee United 2 Rangers 2 (Rangers win 3-2 on penalties): Boyd on target to end Rangers' trophy drought

Kris Boyd and Allan McGregor were the Rangers heroes last night as they played pivotal parts in winning the CIS Cup, ending a trophy drought at Ibrox that had lasted almost three years. Boyd has long been an enigma, making a truism of the oxymoron that he does nothing but score goals. But he netted in normal and extra time to drag Rangers back into a game they trailed 1-0 and 2-1 against opposition whose character and attitude deserved a draw at least, and then he scored the decisive spot-kick in a penalty shootout to secure the cup.

McGregor, who has grown in stature hugely this season with some match-winning performances, made two crucial saves in the shoot-out, including stopping United's fifth penalty, by their captain Lee Wilkie, to leave Boyd one kick to convert for glory.

The outcome for United, as their manager, Craig Levein, accurately described it afterwards, was "cruel". Not just because they had a "stonewall" penalty denied them when 1-0 up. It really did look a certainty, but the referee, Kenny Clark, somehow failed to notice Carlos Cuellar wrestling Christian Kalvenes to the floor in the box. It was also deeply upsetting for Levein that his men had been unable to hold on to gift the silverware to their club chairman and benefactor, Eddie Thompson. Thompson's terminal cancer has spread to his bones and brain but he still took his place in the stands to support his beloved United.

"I feel like I've been 50 rounds with Muhammad Ali," Levein said afterwards. "What a cruel way to lose. I want to be positive about the performance, but I feel so sick for everyone associated with the club. We played probably our best game of the season against a very good side. I'm so gutted."

Rangers won the cup, for a 25th time, to give them a 108th trophy in their history, but, crucially, the first since 2005. Their renaissance under Walter Smith has been a stirring story for supporters who hope this triumph marks the first page in a glorious new chapter. Rangers are also favourites this season for the SPL and the Scottish Cup and are in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Cup.

"It was a terrific cup final and a terrific achievement," Smith said. "In the circumstances of playing this after a tiring game in Germany in the Uefa Cup on Thursday night, I'm delighted and it speaks volumes for my players." Smith was frank about Boyd's limitations. "There's more he needs to do with his all-round play," he said. "It's frustrating for me as a manager [that he needs to work harder]. It's frustrating for him, sitting on the bench." But Smith added: "If you get the ball in the box, he'll get goals."

If Smith learns anything from this win, it might be that for such an important occasion playing at least one recognised striker from the start might be a way to threaten a goal. But of his front men Boyd started on the bench, as did Jean-Claude Darcheville, while Nacho Novo was suspended, Steve Naismith cup-tied and Daniel Cousin injured.

Until Darcheville replaced the midfielder Brahim Hemdani at half-time, and Boyd arrived 15 minutes later, Rangers rarely threatened. United went ahead when Noel Hunt, already denied by one fine McGregor save, scrapped the ball across the line in a tussle with Steven Davis.

Cuellar manhandled Kalvenes eight minutes into the second half, a time when a second United goal might have broken Rangers. Boyd made it 1-1 after a long period of Rangers pressure following a sloppy, under-hit back pass by Mark Kerr during a mêlée in the area.

Mark De Vries put United back ahead early in extra time, and Boyd levelled again, with his head, from Davis' cross late on. So to penalties, silverware and tears all round.

Goals: Hunt (34) 1-0; Boyd (85) 1-1; De Vries (95) 2-1; Boyd (113) 2-2.

Rangers (4-2-3-1): McGregor; Broadfoot, Cuellar, Weir, Papac (Boyd, 61); Dailly, Hemdani (Darcheville, h-t); Davis, Ferguson, Burke (Whittaker, 116); McCulloch. Substitutes not used: Alexander (gk), Thomson.

Dundee United (4-4-2): Zaluska; Kovacevic, Wilkie, Kenneth, Kalvenes; Buaben, Kerr, Flood, Gomis (Robertson, 97); De Vries, Hunt (Conway, 79). Substitutes not used: McLean (gk), Dods, Dillon.

Referee: K Clark.

Booked: Rangers Broadfoot, McCulloch. Dundee United Kalvenes.

Man of the match: Boyd.

Attendance: 50,019.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones