RANGERS will be roared on by a partisan Ibrox crowd in their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final after a war of words broke out between Dundee United and the SFA.

Boss Ally McCoist has played down the significance of his side facing the SPFL Premiership club on their home turf but a bumper Light Blues support will have the chance to cheer the League One champions on after United were given an initial allocation of around 8000 tickets for the last-four clash next month.

Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson and manager Jackie McNamara have both hit out at the decision to stage the tie at Ibrox and called for a more even distribution of tickets for the 50,987 stadium.

But the SFA insist United asked to only be handed the Broomloan front and rear sections at the pre-operations meeting on March 11, although they can ask for more briefs should their initial allocation sell out.

An statement said: "The Dundee United official present stated that in order to ensure a maximum attendance, in the first instance the club would not require the additional allocation in the Govan West corner, front and rear and, instead, would prefer the Broomloan Road stand, capacity 8012.

"He was invited to revert to the club for confirmation but declined. Notwithstanding the present allocation of 8012 - as requested by the club - Dundee United retain first option on the Govan West corner, and a section of the front and rear, an additional 3051 seats.

"Should the club a) request that additional allocation and b) sell it, then there remains the opportunity to extend the allocation subject to agreement between the clubs and the relevant police and stewarding advice."

United took just 6783 fans to their semi-final with Celtic at Hampden last season and 9969 to the match with Raith Rovers twelve months earlier as they sold significantly fewer tickets than their allocations on both occasions.

But the club last night hit back at the Hampden hierarchy and urged United fans to snap up briefs for the Ibrox clash to give McNamara's side the best chance of victory.

A United statement said: "Our position on the need for a neutral venue remains the same also. We still hope that the Scottish FA will revisit this as there is still time to do so.

"However, should that not be the case, we urge as many United supporters as possible to attend the tie and get behind the team and counter the lack of neutrality which, amongst other things, exaggerates any ticketing imbalance.

"This imbalance would not be such a factor at a genuinely neutral venue."