Dundee United manager Peter Houston got the dreaded vote of confidence from chairman Stephen Thompson last week after a thumping 4-1 win at Dunfermline took some of the heat off his side, but Saturday’s trip to league leaders Rangers is likely to prove a much sterner test of his credentials.
Rangers have scored in every SPL game this season and have averaged more than two goals per game.
United, on the other hand, have only kept two clean sheets in the SPL all season, so they will have to tighten up at the back if they are going to pull off a surprise at Ibrox.
Rangers are 23/100 to win the match, and 19/4 to keep up their goals to game ratio with a 2-0 win.
In United’s favour is the unusual fact that Rangers have been better on the road this season than they have been at home.
Four points have already been dropped at Ibrox compared to a flawless away record that has seen them win every game on their travels, conceding only one goal in the process.
United can also point to a recent victory over Rangers at Ibrox as a reason to be optimistic.
A fixture anomaly saw the sides meet three times in the SPL in just over a month at the end of last season with United winning 3-2 at Ibrox in April, although Rangers quickly got revenge by beating them 4-0 at Tannadice two weeks later and then 2-0 at Ibrox again in May.
United can be backed to win on Saturday at 21/2, while the draw is 9/2.
Meanwhile, the news that Stevie Naismith will be out for the rest of the season with a knee injury is a massive blow for Rangers.
Naismith is the SPL’s top scorer and was in the form of his life, and his prolonged absence could have a negative effect on his team.
Naismith has opened the scoring for Rangers five times already this season, so they might find that the game goes much longer without an opening goal in his absence.
Rangers are 5/4 to score more goals in the second half than in the first, compared to 9/5 to find the net more times in the first half than the second.
Even without Naismith, however, Rangers should have too much firepower for United.
Rangers have averaged at least three goals per game against the Tangerines over the last two seasons, and you can get odds of 4/5 on Rangers winning and more than 2.5 goals being scored in the game.
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