Another poor domestic performance from Rangers, this one seeing Sotirios Kyrgiakos sent off for two bookable offences, two more vital points dropped and defeat only avoided by a late headed clearance off the line, led to calls for Alex McLeish's sacking at the final whistle.
The more time that passes, the more widespread the sentiment seems to be becoming. Had Julien Rodriguez not got his head to Collin Samuel's hard, rising shot in the final minutes, McLeish might even have been contemplating a new job this week instead of the next match, Wednesday's Champions' League game with Artmedia Bratislava.
Rangers are nine points behind Hearts and six adrift of Celtic. Dundee United went into the game without a victory in any competition (Scottish Premier League, CIS Cup or Uefa Cup) since 20 August aside from beating bottom-placed Livingston a month ago.
McLeish has apparently finally decided that Rodriguez and Kyrgiakos are his preferred central defensive partnership - after experiments with six alternative pairings. He did his tinkering in midfield instead, handing a first start to the fit-again France-born Algerian, Brahim Hemdani, alongside the inexperienced right-winger, Chris Burke.
The strikers Francis Jeffers and Dado Prso both suffered from bad luck, timing, positioning or all three in the first half. Jeffers had a header cleared from the line, hoofed another chance over the bar, after Prso had crossed to the middle of the area, and skied a third attempt.
Prso curled another cross that mistook itself for a shot and needed Derek Stillie's hands to tip it wide. Peter Lovenkrands, who had earlier fallen over his own feet in the box with a cross coming in from Prso, became supplier only to see Prso be marginally too far ahead of the ball to capitalise.
United, whose captain Paul Ritchie marshalled his defence to good effect, were not without chances, although they were, by turns, too weak, too directly placed, or, on a couple of occasions, well saved, even if luckily so, as at the end.
Dundee United (3-5-2): Stillie; McCracken, Ritchie, Archibald; Wilson, Canero, Kerr, Brebner, Robson; Fernandez (Miller, 72), McIntyre (Samuel, 72). Substitutes not used: Samson (gk), McInnes, Duff, Kenneth, Cameron.
Rangers (4-4-2): Waterreus; Ricksen, Rodriguez, Kyrgiakos, Bernard; Burke (Namouchi, 62), Hemdani, Ferguson, Lovenkrands (McCormack, 77); Prso, Jeffers (Nieto, 53). Substitutes not used: Klos (gk), Andrews, Murray, Lowing.
Referee: C Richmond.
Booked: Dundee United Robson, Brebner; Rangers Kyrgiakos. Sent off: Rangers Kyrgiakos.
Man of the match: Ritchie.
Attendance: 11,686.Reuse content