On this occasion, Tommy McLean's side decided to dig in defensively for 80 of the regulation minutes, venturing forward only rarely, but it is they and not Rangers who will be in tomorrow's semi-final draw, thanks to a goal of supreme quality by Gary McSwegan, the former Rangers sriker.
He won the tie six minutes into extra time with an exquisite volley from 20 yards, and Andy Goram was unable to react as the ball flashed past him into the net.
The result captured the very essence of Cup football as Rangers had dominated the entire match, even without Paul Gascoigne, Brian Laudrup and Jonas Thern.
Their failure to create chances has to be a major concern to Walter Smith, their manager, and on this occasion the absence of Gordon Durie was, perhaps, the most telling.
He was the man who had helped Marco Negri to score all five goals when United last visited Ibrox and his promptings were badly missed last night.
In the early stages, things had looked bright for Rangers as Tony Vidmar played a one-two with Jorg Albertz before shooting wide and Negri came close seconds later.
However, the determined United defence kept their shape with the midfield in front of them denying Rangers the space to cause damage.
Rangers (3-5-2): Goram; Moore, Porrini (Van Vossen, 98) Vidmar; Cleland, Miller (McCoist, 77), Ferguson, Gattuso, Stensaas; Negri, Albertz (McCall, 101).
Dundee United (3-5-2): Dykstra; Perry, Malpass, Pressley; McLaren, Zetterlund, Dolan, McKinnon, Pedersen; Winters (Easton, 109), Olofsson (McSwegan, 79). Substitute not used: McKimmie.
Referee: S Dougal (Glasgow).Reuse content