United fightback frustrates Rangers
© Getty Images

Dundee United staged a stunning second half fightback to earn a 3-3 draw in Sunday's Scottish Cup quarter-final against holders Rangers.

United took the lead midway through the first half at Ibrox through Andis Shala, but two penalties before the break from Kris Boyd and Nacho Novo's strike early in the second half looked to have put Rangers on course for the semi-finals.

There was a sting in the tale for Rangers however as Steven Whittaker's own goal gave United hope and Mihael Kovacevic equalised 10 minutes from full-time to set up a replay at Tannadice on March 24.

But, under no circumstances did I feel we were going to fold. I just feel there is a determination to win, they are winners and that's why we are in a decent position.
Dundee manager Peter Houston after the draw

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist insisted his side were still confident of progressing to the last four. "It's not all doom and gloom - far from it. We are still in the competition and we are the holders," he said. "We've got a great record in this cup and the good news is that we are still in it, albeit we face a really tough replay."

United boss Peter Houston was proud of his team. "When we went down 3-1, a lot of people would have been asking if we had the character to come back from that or would we fold like we did the last time we were here," he said. "But, under no circumstances did I feel we were going to fold. I just feel there is a determination to win, they are winners and that's why we are in a decent position."

Rangers were again without Madjid Bougherra after the Algeria defender failed to recover from a hamstring strain which had kept him out of the last two matches. United suffered an injury blow of their own after just 56 seconds when Damian Casalinuovo pulled up and was replaced by Andis Shala.

That change briefly unsettled the visitors and United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis could only push out a Steven Davis effort to Whittaker, who drove the rebound just over.

Spanish forward Novo was next to threaten for Rangers as he glanced Kenny Miller's narrowly past a post. Just as Rangers seemed set to take control, United snatched a shock lead in the 24th minute. Whittaker's under-hit back pass was intercepted by Jon Daly and he slipped the ball into the path of Shala, who fired low under goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Smith's side quickly regrouped and drew level in the 34th minute when Miller was fouled by Pernis and referee Dougie McDonald pointed to the penalty spot. Boyd stepped up for the spot-kick and his powerful strike gave Pernis with no chance.

Rangers were awarded another penalty two minutes before half-time when Boyd was bundled over by Gary Kenneth and Sean Dillon. Once again Boyd kept his nerve to convert from the spot.

Craig Conway was desperately close to equalising moments after the start of the second half when his effort bounced off the crossbar. Novo claimed Rangers' third goal in the 48th minute as he took Davis's pass before firing a fine strike into the bottom corner.

But United refused to surrender and earned a lifeline in the 63rd minute when a ferocious volley from Morgaro Gomis deflected off Whittaker into the Rangers' net. United had lost 7-1 on their last visit to Ibrox but they scented the chance of an unlikely draw now.

A late onslaught was enough to break down the Rangers' defence one more time for the 80th minute equaliser. Conway's corner found Francisco Sandaza and his header crashed off the crossbar, landing perfectly for Swiss defender Kovacevic to head in the rebound.