Peter Houston praise for Dundee United defence

Dundee United manager Peter Houston
Houston was delighted to keep a clean sheet at Tannadice

Manager Peter Houston praised the defensive grit shown by Dundee United as they earned a 1-0 victory over Hearts at Tannadice.

"Hearts are a good side and I knew we would have to dig deep," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

"I'm delighted for the players because we've been criticised for the goals we've lost and defensively we were outstanding.

"We did our jobs at the back properly and the midfield worked very hard."

Scott Robertson proved to be the match-winner with his first goal in nearly three years.

And United held on as Hearts produced wave after wave of attacks, with Gavin Gunning particularly impressive in central defence.

"Gavin is still a young boy and he's a player who could move on from here in a couple of years," explained Houston.

"We always say we don't hold them back and their ambition should be higher.

"And Gavin Gunning is going about it the right way."

Robbie Neilson made his United debut against his former club, having not played any competitive football this season.

The full-back got through 90 minutes and Houston was pleased with his contribution.

"He found it hard going in the second half, he was blowing a bit," said the manager.

"But I've got to say he stuck to his task well."

The victory lifts United to within two points of sixth-placed Hearts and Houston believes his side can build on the positive result.

"I always felt we had a squad capable of beating anybody outside the Old Firm," he continued.

"Today we faced the third biggest team in the league, in terms of their budget and so on, and we've beaten them for the second time this season.

"What we need to do is being more consistent and stringing three or four results together and that will certainly get us up the table."