Giovanni Van Bronckhorst: Rangers had to ‘dig deep’ for win over Dundee United

Posted Sunday, December 19, 2021 by PA

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst: Rangers had to ‘dig deep’ for win over Dundee United

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst admits Rangers had to “dig deep” for their narrow 1-0 cinch Premiership win over a weakened Dundee United side at Ibrox.

The Taysiders suffered from a Covid-19 outbreak in midweek and boss Tam Courts fielded a much-changed and youthful team but they turned in an impressive performance before and after defender Scott McMann conceded a 71st-minute penalty for handball which allowed captain James Tavernier to fire in Rangers’ winner from the spot.

The Gers fans held their breath when 18-year-old Tannadice attacker Darren Watson hit the top of the crossbar with a header in added time but the league leaders survived to move seven points ahead of Celtic who play Hibernian in the Premier Sports Cup final at Hampden Park on Sunday.

The Dutchman, who has won all six league games since taking over as Gers boss, said: “Happy with the points but not the performance.

“Out of the games I have coached, this is one of the less effective ones.

“We had to dig in deep to get the points but we did it and this week we will use to prepare really well for the last week before the winter break

“It was a difficult game, we saw a Dundee United team who did everything to give us a challenge which they did.

“Our performance wasn’t the way I wanted the team to play, that’s why we struggled to create chances.

“In the second half we created a little more danger and we had a couple of chances to score, and from a penalty James is very good at it.

“I was happy to score but Dundee United kept pushing us to get it to 1-1.

“In the end I was happy with the points – if not the performance.”

Courts revealed that five players out of the group who missed out have tested positive for Covid-19.

Goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, Kieran Freeman, Ian Harkes, Jeando Fuchs, Ilmari Niskanen and Peter Pawlett were all absent which led in part to the United boss playing four teenagers, including 16-year-old Craig Moore making his debut.

Courts said: “We actually have five confirmed Covid cases so of the players that missed out, five have positive Covid tests.

“I think for the most part it will probably be the middle of the week when they are back.

“Unless there are developments in the next 48 hours from a political perspective then we will have them back in the middle of the week.”

Courts believed his side “probably did” merit a draw.

He said: “In the first half, there wasn’t much in it. Rangers had the bulk of possession but we probably had the best of the half-chances.

“But in the second half when we hit the bar at the end I actually thought a draw would have been just rewards.”

The United boss had no complaints about the award of the penalty.

He said: “We actually got a bit of live feedback during the game that it was a flailing arm so on the basis of probability it looked like it probably was a penalty.

“It is just something that you have got to accept.

“It is frustrating that has been what has separated the two teams because other than the bulk of possession, I thought our organisation and bravery was excellent and we actually had a couple of half-decent chances.

“So it is a bitter pill to swallow that it has been a penalty that has been the defining situation.”


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