St Johnstone 1-5 Dundee Utd

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland

Dundee United benefitted from two own goals as they hammered Tayside rivals St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Steven Anderson in the first half and Callum Davidson in the second put through their own net as the visitors built up a 2-0 lead.

However, Anderson scored at the right end to halve Saints' deficit.

But headers by Johnny Russell and Jon Daly and a tap-in by Milos Lacny gave United a handsome Scottish Premier League victory.

The gap between the two sides now sits at five points, with St Johnstone fifth and United sixth.

St Johnstone pinned their visitors back early on but struggled to test United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.

However, the Slovakian goalkeeper was a relieved man on 18 minutes when Davidson's shot fizzed past the post, the left-back having got the break of the ball in a central area.

Liam Craig was next to threaten, but Pernis was well positioned to collect the midfielder's delicate lob.

Pernis then ran off his line to make a clearance and spare the blushes of Robbie Neilson, who had been short with the passback.

Saints continued to press and Paul Dixon made a vital clearance from Chris Millar's dangerous whipped cross.

United won a free-kick following Anderson's late challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven and Gavin Gunning's drive was deflected out.

It was from another set piece that United got the opener, although the goal owed more to a goalkeeping mishap than attacking prowess.

Jon Daly and Johnny Russell
Daly and Russell both netted for United

Peter Enckelman came off his line to try to catch Dixon's free-kick but missed it and the ball cannoned off the unfortunate Anderson and trickled into the net.

The Perth side pressed for an equaliser and Lee Croft tried to round Pernis on the right-hand side of the box but let the ball get away from him and went to ground as the goalkeeper closed him down. Referee Iain Brines promptly booked Croft for simulation.

Enckelman held Scott Robertson's shot from the edge of the box shortly before half-time.

Anderson's attempt to cancel out his own goal did not have the beating of Pernis in the opening minutes of the second half.

Gunning headed Mackay-Steven's corner just over at the other end.

However, Mackay-Steven did create a goal when he burst towards the byline and centred for Johnny Russell, who missed the ball only for Davidson to put through his own net.

The pace and trickery of Mackay-Steven was proving to be a real headache for Saints and the winger set up Stuart Armstrong, whose bending shot was saved well by Enckelman.

St Johnstone finally registered when Craig's looping free-kick was turned home in the six-yard box by Anderson.

No sooner had Saints scored than they were defending again as Mackay-Steven produced an excellent bit of skill to set up John Rankin, whose shot was deflected over and, from the corner, Gunning's header clipped the crossbar on its way out.

Pernis held efforts by Craig and Dave MacKay as St Johnstone probed for an equaliser.

However, the home side's hopes of completing their comeback were dashed when Russell became the first United player to get his name on the scoresheet.

Dixon's free-kick found the striker at the back post and his header looped over Enckelman into the far corner.

Another superb delivery from Dixon set up Daly for his goal, the striker beating Enckelman with a commanding header.

And the visitors profited from another defensive mix-up in the home defence as Enckelman's clearance rebounded off MacKay into the path of Lacny and the substitute slotted into the empty net for his first United goal.

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