Gunning deals Rangers boss McCoist a shattering blow
GAVIN GUNNING applied a near fatal blow to Ally McCoist's managerial career as Dundee United dumped Rangers out of the Scottish Cup 2-0 at Ibrox as Irish players made their mark in the Scottish Cup.
A 15th-minute header from Gunning set United up for a famous win that piles the pressure onto Rangers, while in Edinburgh, a goal from Eoin Doyle was enough to see Pat Fenlon's Hibernian side past Kilmarnock.
Cillian Sheridan was also on target to earn St Johnstone a draw at Hearts.
Gunning's second goal of the season created the biggest stir to send Rangers out of their fourth cup competition of the season at the end of a week dominated by news of the Ibrox club's financial problems.
Last season, Gunning was in the Motherwell team that lost out to Celtic in the final of the Scottish Cup, but yesterday's goal went some way towards making up for that disappointment for the former Crumlin United defender.
"When you come to Ibrox you expect a hard game, we got that but gave as good as we got," Gunning admitted afterwards. "I didn't expect to score but it felt good to see the ball hit the back of the net."
There were only 17,000 fans at Ibrox, with discontent growing among the Rangers support as the club's finances are laid bare against a background of Celtic chasing a treble and being on a 15-match winning run.
The threat of administration or liquidation hangs over Rangers as they await the verdict on a tax bill of more than €50m, and McCoist claimed is it affecting his players.
"What we all need is clarification on what's happening so that we can move forward," he said. "The uncertainty regarding this tax issue is the biggest problem that we have."
Across the city, Anthony Stokes found himself sitting on the bench as goals from Georgios Samaras and Scott Brown steered Celtic to victory at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Hibs joined Celtic in the last eight thanks to a 15th-minute goal from Doyle, while Sheridan came off the bench at half-time to earn St Johnstone a draw against Hearts with his third goal of the season.