Scottish Premiership
Dundee Utd2St Johnstone0

Dundee United 2-0 St Johnstone

  • Dundee United go two points clear at top
  • Chris Erskine scores after returning to starting line-up
  • United now unbeaten in six games
  • St Johnstone fail to record fifth straight win over United

Dundee United went clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a workmanlike win over St Johnstone.

United opened the scoring on the counter-attack, with Chris Erskine slotting the ball past Alan Mannus after being set up by Nadir Ciftci.

A Michael O'Halloran effort came off a post after the break as St Johnstone went close.

But United made the points safe when Paul Paton fired high into the net after being set up by Keith Watson.

The Tannadice outfit had started the day level on points with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but the Highland side's defeat in Aberdeen leaves United two points clear of Hamilton Academical at the summit of the Premiership.

And victory stretched the Terrors' unbeaten run to six games, while ending Saints' run of four victories over the hosts without conceding a goal.

Murray Davidson (left) challenges Dundee United's Mario Bilate
Murray Davidson (left) was a late addition to the St Johnstone starting line-up

For the first meeting between the sides since last season's Scottish Cup final - a game which St Johnstone won 2-0 at Celtic Park in May - visiting manager Tommy Wright was forced into a late change when midfielder Chris Millar picked up an injury during the warm-up.

Murray Davidson, who was initially left out after playing in the midweek League Cup win over Kilmarnock, was restored instead.

There was also no place for the scorer of the winning goal in that tie, Brian Graham, who was ineligible to play against his parent club.

Yet it was Jackie McNamara's changes that proved more crucial in the opening half. The United manager opted to include Erskine and Mario Bilate ahead of Stuart Armstrong and Blair Spittal and it was the former Partick Thistle player who opened the scoring after 23 minutes.

From a St Johnstone corner, United goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak gathered and threw the ball out for his side to break. Ciftci fed Erskine on the right side of Saints' penalty box and the midfielder fired in a composed finish.

United began brightly after the restart, with Ciftci forcing Mannus to race from goal to clear as he raced in on the Saints goalkeeper. Then Bilate fired in a lobbed effort that flew just over the Saints bar.

Saints were almost level on the hour mark when O'Halloran reacted quickly when the ball evaded United defender Callum Morris in the six-yard box, but the woodwork denied the striker.

However, United added a second in the 72nd minute when Ciftci laid the ball to the right for Watson on the overlap and the defender's low cross was fired home from eight yards by the well-placed Paton.

Chris Erskine slots the ball past Alan Mannus for the opening goal
Chris Erskine slipped the ball past Alan Mannus for the opening goal
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright (left) shows his displeasure in the dugout
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright (left) was forced to make a change to his line-up before kick-off
Paul Paton leaves St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus in despair
Paul Paton left St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus in despair
Paul Paton celebrates scoring United's second goal with John Rankin
Paul Paton (left) scored Dundee United's second goal

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 2Dillon
  • 14MorrisBooked at 90mins
  • 12Watson
  • 5Fojut
  • 17ErskineSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 75'minutes
  • 18DowSubstituted forSpittalat 78'minutes
  • 7CiftciBooked at 67mins
  • 6Paton
  • 8Rankin
  • 19BilateSubstituted forArmstrongat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Armstrong
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 21Telfer
  • 23Smith
  • 24Spittal
  • 26Szromnik
  • 33Spark

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 5Wright
  • 6Anderson
  • 2Mackay
  • 24Easton
  • 16Caddis
  • 8McDonaldSubstituted forLappinat 54'minutes
  • 22CroftSubstituted forMorganat 54'minutes
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 80mins
  • 18Davidson
  • 29O'Halloran

Substitutes

  • 4Lappin
  • 11Morgan
  • 15Banks
  • 19Miller
  • 20Brown
  • 31Easton
  • 34Kerr
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
7,161

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home6
Away7
Shots on Target
Home3
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home13
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Dundee United 2, St. Johnstone 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, St. Johnstone 0.

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

Liam Caddis (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jaroslaw Fojut.

Booking

Callum Morris (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Callum Morris (Dundee United).

Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Murray Davidson.

Booking

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Blair Spittal replaces Ryan Dow.

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).

Attempt missed. Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Chris Erskine.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Frazer Wright.

Foul by Chris Erskine (Dundee United).

Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal!

Goal! Dundee United 2, St. Johnstone 0. Paul Paton (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Keith Watson.

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Booking

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

Delay in match Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) because of an injury.

Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Steven Anderson.

Attempt blocked. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Stuart Armstrong replaces Mario Bilate.

Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone).

Chris Erskine (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) hits the left post with a left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left.

Attempt missed. Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Murray Davidson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Adam Morgan replaces Lee Croft.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dundee Utd86111810819
2Hamilton85211551017
3Inverness CT8512127516
4Celtic7421156914
5Kilmarnock8422107314
6Aberdeen7403118312
7Dundee824279-210
8St Johnstone8305510-59
9Partick Thistle72141011-17
10Motherwell8215412-87
11St Mirren7106412-83
12Ross County8107620-143
View full Scottish Premiership table

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