Tennent's Scottish Cup Fifth Round



By Stewart McConnell

AFTER soaring into a stunning early lead, underdogs United were ultimately blown away in the blizzard by rampant Rangers.

A capacity crowd of more than 9,000 packed into Somerset Park with some dreaming of an upset to rival 1975 when then Premier Division United put the Glasgow side to the sword, winning 3-0 and for at least half an hour there was a heady optimism it could happen again.

However three goals inside seven second half minutes shattered their dreams.

In the opening minute home winger Alan Forrest made a darting run before shooting across the face of goal from 20 yards. Three minutes later at the other end Greg Docherty shot narrowly wide from six yards.

Then in seven minutes Docherty shot inches wide from a similar distance.

Declan John shot wide from six yards in nine minutes as Rangers forged their first opportunity.

However there were scenes of absolute delirium in 11 minutes when visiting goalkeeper Wes Foderingham failed to hold a clearance and Forrest chased the ball down before drilling it home from eight yards, taking a lead out of brother James, book following his hat-trick for Celtic against Partick Thistle 24 hours earlier.

Paddy Boyle made a clearance to break up a Rangers attack in 18 minutes.

Rangers won a free-kick on the edge of the box in 20 minutes when Dean Windass was pulled back on the edge of the box by Andy Geggan and the resultant free-kick from Sean Goss was blocked by the home wall. Foderingham was out of his goal again in 23 minutes but Lawrence Shankland shot high and wide from 20 yards a minute later. Then at the other end in 26 minutes a header from six yards by Windass crashed off the crossbar.

Docherty then squared to Alfredo Morelos who shot over the bar from two yards with only Jack Ruddy to beat. However in 31 minutes, it as all-square when a Goss shot hit the underside of the bar and Morelos followed up to blast home from eight yards.

There were claims for a penalty in 38 minutes when Declan McDaid had his shirt pulled inside the box but play was waved on.

Craig Moore then aimed a long through pass at Shankland inside the box but the ball just spun out over play. A point blank shot from Jason Cummings was well handled by Ruddy in 41 minutes.

Michael O'Halloran shot just over the bar for Gers in 44 minutes.

United had taken took the game to Rangers throughout the first half and could go into the second with a measure of confidence.

Rangers carved out a chance in 53 minutes when Morelos set up Tavernier to shoot behind the goal from 16 yards. Then Foderingham came rushing out to beat McDaid to the ball from eight yards.

The visitors went close again in 57 minutes when Goss shot narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Gers had the ball in the net when Cummings shot home from 10 yards in 63 minutes but the "goal" was chalked off for offside.

However three minutes later Rangers seized the lead when Goss swung over a cross to Cummings who knocked the ball home from six yards.

It was game over in 69 minutes when a John cross was turned home from six yards by Windass.

Then Moreles swept the ball home from eight yards to give Rangers a 4-1 advantage in 73 minutes.

Windass sent a curling 20-yard effort wide in 80 minutes. A minute later it was 5-1 when Windass shot home from eight yards to make it 5-1.

Ayr sub Craig McGuffie then shot just wide from inside the box in 86 minutes.

Ayr had a lucky escape in 88 minutes when a John shot from six yards came off the inside of the post.

The visitors soared into a 6-1 lead in 88 minutes when Jamie Murphy made a blinding run before sweeping the ball home from eight yards.

So after an impressive start Ayr were ultimately overpowered by Rangers and will have to lick their wounds and re-group for the promotion race.