Match ends, Dundee United 1, Kilmarnock 0.
Nadir Ciftci produced a stunning volleyed goal to give Dundee United victory over Kilmarnock, who are now winless after 10 games this season.
United's David Goodwillie hit the post in a first half short of real chances.
After the break Ciftci met Goodwillie's cross to hit a pure strike low and fast past Killie goalkeeper Craig Samson.
In a frantic ending, Killie's Jackson Irvine and Sammy Clingan had Radoslaw Cierzniak making great saves to ensure the three points.
A finish of the highest quality from Ciftci deserved to win this match for Dundee United, as they made it five games unbeaten to go fifth in the Scottish Premiership.
What will please the hosts' manager Jackie McNamara all the more is that it came from his two strikers linking up wonderfully.
Goodwillie drifted out to the left before floating in a precise cross for Ciftci to connect with an emphatic, technically perfect volley which sped past Killie goalkeeper Craig Samson, whose sight seemed blocked by his own defenders.
The former NAC Breda frontman is now up to five goals for the season and his all-round contribution seems to make him a sensible addition.
Allan Johnston's tenth game in charge of Kilmarnock did not bring him his first win, but it was always unlikely to come at Tannadice, where the East Ayrshire side have now not won in eight visits.
There are, however, clear signs of improvement in Killie's play. In the final 15 minutes, Cierzniak had to be at his very best to keep out Irvine's diving header and flighted shot; as well as Clingan's stinging free-kick.
In David Silva, they also appear to have an individual who can light up a game with the click of a finger.
On the left side of midfield and making his first start in his second spell with Kilmarnock, the Portugal-born Cape Verdean international selected various step-overs and shimmies from his box of tricks to try and confuse United defenders.
One of those was 17-year-old John Souttar, who mostly looked calm and composed dealing with what came his way in the air and on the deck.
QPR scouts were present at Tannadice, presumably to cast their eye over the centre-back who has been the subject of two bids by Sunderland.
It was Souttar who provided the pass for fellow teenager Ryan Gauld to turn and shoot from 20 yards only to be denied by Samson.
That chance was only bettered in the opening 45 minutes by Goodwillie - his low effort smashing the near-post from Gauld's perfect through ball.
While Kilmarnock's slick passing was occasional, United's was commonplace and they really began to up the ante early in the second half.
Goodwillie and Gauld had identical near-post shots beaten away by Samson before Darren Barr slid in to divert Ciftci's 10-yard effort.
The Turk's goal soon after prompted a barrage of United attacks, with Gauld and Gary Mackay-Steven looking particularly scintillating.
However, the hosts' profligacy almost made them pay near the end as Kilmarnock rallied.
- 12WatsonSubstituted forGunningat 28'minutes
- 19GauldBooked at 71mins
- 21CiftciSubstituted forDowat 86'minutes
- 10ArmstrongSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 59'minutes
- 16ClohessyBooked at 21mins
- 83BouzidBooked at 6mins
- 29PascaliBooked at 66minsSubstituted forIrvineat 75'minutesBooked at 77mins
- 7NicholsonSubstituted forFowlerat 59'minutes
- 14SilvaSubstituted forIbrahimat 70'minutes
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee United 1, Kilmarnock 0.
Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ismaël Bouzid (Kilmarnock).
Attempt missed. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Attempt saved. Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Craig Samson.
Attempt saved. Ryan Dow (Dundee United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
(Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Dangerous play by Darren Barr (Kilmarnock).
Attempt saved. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).
Rabiu (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Dundee United. Ryan Dow replaces Nadir Ciftci.
Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt saved. David Goodwillie (Dundee United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jackson Irvine (Kilmarnock).