Dundee United 4-1 Heart of Midlothian

Dundee United edged into third place in the Scottish Premiership with a comfortable home win against Hearts.

Gary Mackay-Steven set up Stuart Armstrong to slot home in the 16th-minute before Jamie Hamill converted from the spot to level.

Immediately after the break, Brian Graham's header put United back in charge.

Mackay-Steven fired in the third, then John Rankin's deflected shot with the last kick of the ball sealed the win.

The win was United's sixth at home in a row and despite a 7-0 hammering from Celtic last weekend, Hearts manager Gary Locke made only one change in his first eleven, with Calum Tapping coming in for David Smith.

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Interview - Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara

United dominated the early stages with some confident passing football.

The first real chance of the match came via the boot of the highly-rated Ryan Gauld, the 17-year-old's a looping strike from 25 yards forcing Hearts keeper Jamie MacDonald to touch over the bar.

Soon after that United were ahead, when a great pass over the Hearts defence from Mackay-Steven played in Armstrong who angled the ball towards goal and watched it bundle home under pressure from Kevin McHattie.

Hearts responded well and were level within four minutes when Jamie Walker jinked into the box and was tripped by Mark Wilson. From the penalty spot Hamill calmly slotted the ball low to the left to level.

Gauld almost conjured a great chance for United, playing a pass through the Hearts defence for Souttar, but the forward-thinking defender had his chance blocked off by a combination of his own team-mate Armstrong and Hearts defender McHattie.

Just before half-time, Graham fired over the bar while at the other end Ryan Stevenson had a close-range shot blocked.

United came out for the second half with all guns blazing.

First a fierce Rankin drive from just outside the box was touched wide by MacDonald, then, from a corner Graham rose for a free header which he smashed home to retake the lead.

The Hearts players pleaded with referee Craig Thomson to award an infringement on Calum Paterson, but the goal stood.

From there United dominated as they searched for the goal to kill the game off.

But Hearts, to their credit, were obdurate and stubborn - and Paterson and Walker remained lively, although the latter was booked for diving.

As the visitors continued to press for an equaliser, they became ever more vulnerable on the break, and finally it told.

Mackay-Steven cut in from the right and curled a left foot shot past MacDonald to seal all three points, then a deflected effort from Rankin left MacDonald stranded.

As It Stood

2Inverness CT149231029
3Dundee Utd157531826
6St Johnstone15636521
8St Mirren14446-716
9Partick Thistle15357-1214
11Ross County14329-1311
View full Scottish Premiership table

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