Why Duff 'ran away' from fans after scoring at Rangers

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The Independent Online

Dundee United hero Stuart Duff claims he did not celebrate the goal against Rangers that earned his side a 1-0 win at Ibrox in the Scottish Premier League on Tuesday night because he never dreamed it would be the winner.

Dundee United hero Stuart Duff claims he did not celebrate the goal against Rangers that earned his side a 1-0 win at Ibrox in the Scottish Premier League on Tuesday night because he never dreamed it would be the winner.

Victory should have been a formality for the league leaders against the club who were propping up the rest of the table heading into the game, but Duff had other ideas. He scored the opener with just eight minutes on the clock before United weathered a storm of chances from Rangers for the remainder of the match.

Duff admits he was shocked to remain the only scorer and confessed his first reaction was to "run away" from the Rangers fans after breaking the deadlock. He said: "I didn't think it wasn't going to be the winner because it was quite early in the game.

"I didn't celebrate because I knew there was still a lot of the game to be played. Coming to Ibrox is a hard enough place without people getting on your back so I just ran away."

Dundee United have now cost Rangers an astonishing seven league points this season, but the previous meeting between the two sides was one the Tannadice side would rather forget.

They suffered a humiliating 7-1 defeat at Hampden as Rangers stormed through to the CIS Insurance Cup final and Duff reckons that game gave motivation to several of his team-mates last night.

He added: "I'm sure a few of the boys had that in the back of their heads and were looking for revenge but, personally, my only priority was to get the three points. Now we just have to look ahead to Saturday."

The result means Rangers squandered the opportunity to move four points clear of Celtic before their Glasgow rivals played Livingston last night, but Alex Rae believes plenty more points could be dropped by both teams before the title is decided.

"Any defeat is costly," Rae said. "We've gone through the season well and we had an opportunity to put more pressure on Celtic so it's disappointing.

"It's fair to say Dundee United have been our bogey team this season, but we just have to dust ourselves down for the weekend.

"It's very disappointing but it's still very much in our own hands. We know what we have to do and we will be hoping to rectify it this weekend."

Dado Prso, Nacho Novo and Shota Arveladze should have scored in a game where Rangers pummelled the Dundee United defence and Rae admits he is astonished the Ibrox side finished the game goalless.

"We thought we had plenty of time," Rae added. "Even at half-time we thought we had enough time to come back and get the result we wanted but it didn't happen for us.

"We just couldn't finish - we created a barrowload of chances and it just wasn't to be. We could still be playing now and it just wouldn't fall for us."

The Rangers manager, Alex McLeish, has backed his players to put their defeat behind them and fight back harder than ever in the title race.

McLeish insists Rangers' title hopes have not been seriously damaged and claimed they may even get away with dropping more points before the season reaches its climax.

"We can, if Celtic slip up," he said. "It can happen but we have to bounce back.

"We have the spirit to bounce back. We've done it many times in the past, and this team has the spirit to do it again.

"Dado Prso, Nacho Novo, Shota Arveladze - they are all prolific scorers and they were unlucky against Dundee United.

When asked how much of a blow the defeat to United was, McLeish shot back: "It will be a bigger blow if we lose the championship - that's the simple answer."

One reason for Rangers' disappointing display may have been the number of high-profile absentees - who could well have made a difference to the result on a night when the league leaders' finishing was poor.

Barry Ferguson's red card against Motherwell meant he was forced to watch from the stand. Marvin Andrews and Thomas Buffel remain on the injured list.

Buffel has yet to recover from the knock he picked up on international duty with Belgium. Andrews is still refusing to undergo surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury.

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