Rangers 2-1 Dundee United
Nuno Capucho celebrates opening the scoring
Rangers clung on for victory against Dundee United after dominating the first half and missing a penalty.
Two goals inside three minutes from Nuno Capucho and Peter Lovenkrands looked to have put Rangers on easy street, even though Emerson had his spot kick saved by Paul Gallacher.
But United pulled a goal back against the run of play after 56 minutes through Billy Dodds and Rangers had to endure a nervous closing half-hour.
The visitors had a stonewall penalty turned down at the beginning of the second half, although Rangers will point to the controversial award of a corner, which led to United's goal.
Chris Burke was handed his first start in the league and he almost opened the scoring after only four minutes after a positive run into the box, but his shot was dragged just wide.
United has started brightly though and Zura Khizanishvili had to make a vital interception to prevent Jim McIntyre testing Stefan Klos from close range.
Capucho ought to have broken the deadlock after 11 minutes after Burke had threaded a beautiful ball through to him, but his shot was straight at Paul Gallacher.
Klos was called into action after 14 minutes to hold a Mark Kerr effort from 25 yards but it was Rangers who took the lead two minutes later.
Fernando Ricksen sent a hopeful ball through towards Capucho who brushed aside David McCracken before running through on goal and coolly tucking the ball beyond Gallacher with the outside of his right foot.
Three minutes later, Rangers doubled their lead after more dithering in the United defence. Burke was given a second opportunity to cross after his first attempt was only half-cleared and the youngster picked out Lovenkrands at the back post who tapped in from a yard out.
Michael Mols should have added to Rangers' tally just after the half-hour mark when Lovenkrands cut the ball back to him in acres of space, but the Dutchman tamely shot straight at Gallacher.
Peter Lovenkrands celebrates Rangers' second goal
Moments later, United passed up a rare chance when Kerr volleyed just wide of Klos' left-hand post.
Rangers were presented with a golden opportunity to add a third when Kerr was penalised for bringing Lovenkrands down in the area, although the foul looked accidental, but Emerson's spot kick was lackadaisical and Gallacher turned it wide.
United had cause for complaint two minutes into the second half when Billy Dodds was fouled inside the box by Khizanishvili, only for referee John Underhill to wave play on. Dodds' frustration was compounded moments later when he kicked out at Ricksen and was booked for his trouble.
Lovenkrands forced Gallacher into an impressive save with a well-struck volley, Mols shot inches wide and then Lovenkrands headed just past the post as Rangers turned the screw.
But it was United who were next to score after the referee over-ruled his assistant to award the visitors a corner. Stephen Hughes cleared off the line as the ball skidded off the head of Lovenkrands but Chris Innes directed the ball goalwards again and Dodds lashed it into the net.
Having passed up numerous chances to seal the points, Rangers' play began to look nervous and Charlie Miller's effort from 22 yards flew just over as United sensed they could force an equaliser.
Lovenkrands and Capucho passed up late chances but Rangers held on to win.
Rangers: Klos, Ricksen, Berg, Khizanishvili, Ball,
Burke (Vanoli 87), Emerson (Malcolm 76), Hughes, Lovenkrands,
Capucho, Mols (Duffy 83).
Subs Not Used: McGregor, Ross.
Dundee Utd: Gallacher, Wilson (Easton 45), Innes, McCracken,
Archibald, Kerr (Miller 68), McInnes, Robson,
Dodds (Samuel 74), McLaren, McIntyre.
Subs Not Used: Jarvie, James Paterson.
Booked: Innes, Wilson, Dodds, McCracken, Robson.
Ref: J Underhill