Before the game, Police set up a 500 metre exclusion zone around Tannadice to stop fans without tickets getting near the ground. In the event less than 400 rangers fans ignored the planned boycott of the game.
The home club drafted extra officers and stewards in after internet rumours that busloads of fans were planning to travel from Glasgow to Dundee to protest outside the ground. In the end they weren't needed.
Rangers chairman Charles Green backed a fans’ boycott of the match by refusing to take any of Rangers’ ticket allocation.
Green’s action was seen as revenge against United, who Rangers believe played a leading role in keeping them out of the SPL after liquidation in the summer.
Before the match, the police match commander for the game, Superintendent Kevin Lynch, said his own intelligence reports did not support rumours that there would be a protest outside, and he was proved to be correct.
In fairness, Rangers boss Ally McCoist says it was his side's slack defending and not lack of support which led to their comprehensive 3-0 defeat.
The band of 365 Rangers fans who did ignore the boycott to take their seats they must have wished they had stayed at home when a defensive mix-up between Emilson Cribari and Ross Perry allowed Johnny Russell to score the opener after just 15 seconds.
The Rangers defence were again in trouble when Willo Flood's lofted free-kick into the box found captain Jon Daly in acres of space and the forward fired a header past the helpless Neil Alexander.
McCoist's side improved after the break as they enjoyed the bulk of possession but their defensive frailties were exposed once again in the 79th minute when Russell grabbed his second before Kal Naismith and Ian Black were sent off for Rangers.
"It was a terrible start for us and we didn't defend very well for the second goal either allowing a free header to Dundee United," said McCoist.