Rangers 2 Dundee Utd 0: Five talking points as Malik Tillman shines

Malik Tillman scored straight wins in both halves on the day Allan McGregor made his 500th appearance for the club.

Beale’s side now turn their attention to the Old Firm clash at Parkhead next week as they look to give themselves a chance to catch up with Celtic in the final stages of the title race.


If you had told Beale on his first day in office that he would embark on such a long unbeaten run – one that includes victories at Pittodrie, Tynecastle and Easter Road – and pick up so many Premiership points, he would certainly have been without it managed hesitation. Remarkably, it wasn’t enough to put Rangers back in contention for the title.

The deficit is now six points but it seems more than likely that it will drop back to nine as Celtic prepare for the Ross County trip. Rangers kept their end of the bargain, but their efforts went unrewarded as their old-firm rivals showed the mark of champions with their own incredible form.

Parkhead needs something this coming weekend. If Rangers get lucky in the derby under Beale for a third time, then it can only give them the faintest hopes of a title race.

Beale needs a performance and a result against Celtic to prove that the progression and positivity of his reign can be secured when it really matters. A win would be welcome, of course, but it would certainly be traded for one in the Scottish Cup later this month.

The remaining Premiership games outside of the derbies are of little consequence for a Rangers side that have proven they can beat the rest week in and week out. Now they have to show they can beat the best.


Tillman’s goal was the culmination of largely lackluster and at times downright awful first 45-minute action at Ibrox. The American’s intervention was timely and appreciated by a crowd, who would have had a very different reaction after the whistle had the Rangers not been up front when they returned through the tunnel.

James Tavernier was denied by Mark Birighitti from a tight angle after seven minutes. Just before the break, Ryan Kent – ​​who had previously shot deep and wide – came agonizingly close with a fine long-range shot that shook the crossbar and rebounded clear.

But it was Tillman’s goal that was the moment to savor as Beale’s side struggled to bring real rhythm and pace to an encounter that wasn’t easy to watch. Once again, Tillman got up to be counted when Beale needed him.

The Ibrox boss confirmed ahead of the game that Rangers are in talks with Bayern Munich beyond the end of the season about Tillman’s future and it was another reminder of what he brings to the team and why he’s such an important part of it going forward can be .

Todd Cantwell deserves credit for the assist as he held back his marker and flicked a Connor Goldson pass around the United defense and into Tillman’s path. The 20-year-old handled the rest with aplomb and his finish was emphatic as he kept his shot down and defeated Birighitti at the angle.


The first challenge in matches like this for Rangers is breaking the deadlock and pretty much making sure the game isn’t lost. The second is to move on and win the game as comfortably as possible.

Ibrox can be a notoriously difficult place when games don’t go to bed and so the goal that doubled Tillman’s tally came at just the right time for Beale’s side. As soon as the ball hit the net, it was done and dusted.

It was another successful finish from the playmaker as he shifted the ball to create space for himself and was never nervous. It was cool, calm and clinical again.

Rangers had started the second half brilliantly and it was now a question of how many they would win by. Kent lobbed from a promising position, Tavernier failed to get a block on the line and Borna Barisic headed just wide while Rangers pressed with more urgency but somehow didn’t work to their advantage.

Beale was able to turn his attention to Celtic when Tavernier and Alfredo Morelos were replaced. Later in the half, Ryan Jack, Cantwell and Tillman were also terminated early to minimize risks ahead of the derby.


The way McGregor goes about his business day after day, week after week has been a driving factor in his remarkable consistency and longevity. On that landmark afternoon, he focused more on football than his record or future.

He finished his warm-up and made his way out of the park as usual. Arriving on the sidelines, he was greeted by John Greig and the Ibrox crowd applauded as the greatest Ranger of all time presented him with a gift to mark his 500th appearance.

A quick clapping to show the audience his appreciation was followed by rapturous applause and a short video on the giant screens as Simply The Best played over the Tannoy. It was a moment for McGregor to enjoy before getting back to business.

The first 45 minutes passed almost without incident for the keeper. A goal from Craig Sibbald whistled over the bar was the only time McGregor had to be alert and he responded in typical fashion with a tirade at those who had given the United man a chance to shoot.

His second half was equally uneventful and this was one of the easiest goals conceded of his career. McGregor’s exploits weren’t required this time as he was presented with the Man of the Match award for the occasion.


Jim Goodwin would have thought about damage control before the trip to Ibrox. This was probably a mission accomplished for the Tannadice boss.

United aren’t the first team to come here and line up like this. In fact, they won’t be the last, and there will be many more managers to adopt the Goodwin approach.

It’s perfectly understandable, and not just because of United’s position in the Premiership. The rift between the Old Firm and the rest of the league speaks volumes this season, and teams that visit Ibrox or Parkhead know they risk losing badly if they get too open and adventurous.

United would have had to put up with a poor goalless draw all day but Rangers’ perseverance and patience were rewarded when their quality finally paid off. The visitors could not argue about the result.

Matches like these will not determine United’s fate in the top flight. It’s one that can now be written off as Goodwin looks to the challenges of the coming weeks.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/football/23428763.rangers-2-dundee-utd-0-five-talking-points-malik-tillman-shines/?ref=rss Rangers 2 Dundee Utd 0: Five talking points as Malik Tillman shines

Russell Falcon

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