Scottish Premiership
Dundee UtdDundee United3KilmarnockKilmarnock2
By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland

Dundee United came out on top in a breathtaking five-goal thriller against Kilmarnock at Tannadice.

Gary Mackay-Steven and Alexei Eremenko hit first half goals, then the visitors took the lead when Andrew Robertson struggled with Kris Boyd's lob.

Curtis Good restored parity instantly with a header into the top corner.

The chances continued for both teams, but United finished the strongest and John Rankin found a winner from close range.

With Inverness held at home to Hearts, the three points puts Jackie McNamara's side into fourth place as they chase a Europa League qualifying spot.

In a sign of things to come, Nadir Ciftci had Craig Samson beaten within the first five minutes, cutting inside and being denied only by the post.

It didn't take long for Jackie McNamara's men to find themselves in front though.

Jackson Irvine slipped under pressure from Mackay-Steven as the long ball was played forward, and the Scotland hopeful had all the time in the world to set himself and pick his spot beyond the goalkeeper.

The game was being played at an electric pace and Killie thought they had equalised when Lee Ashcroft headed a corner into the net, but referee John Beaton ruled it out.

The home side responded with Mackay-Steven again getting a sight of goal, but this time his low drive whistled just wide.

The game ebbed and flowed from end-to-end and it seemed a matter of time before the game saw a second goal.

Radoslaw Cierzniak denied Kris Boyd with a one-handed save before Jeroen Tesselaar cracked the rebound off the post.

Shortly after Eremenko, making his first start, fired a low effort down the middle on the counter attack after Ciftci and Rankin had threatened at the other end.

There was no let-up in the play and United were kicking themselves for not making it 2-0 seven minutes before half-time.

A string of patient passes outside the area cut Kilmarnock open and Rankin fired a low ball towards the far post to Keith Watson, who slid in but couldn't quite connect to steer it home.

They were made to pay for that miss when Eremenko fired Kilmarnock back on level terms with a wonderful strike.

Cierzniak's clearance went straight to Rory McKenzie who headed forward into the path of the Finnish playmaker, and on the turn he cracked a beautiful effort into the net from a good 30 yards out.

Both sides returned for the second-half determined to keep up the relentless pace. Boyd twice found himself with good early chances inside the area, but after firing his first effort over the bar his second shot was charged down by Watson.

However Boyd was the catalyst in Killie's opener. Cierzniak rushed out from goal but was beaten to the ball by the striker. It looked like Andrew Robertson had got back in time to clear, but he somehow missed the header and the ball bounced into the net.

Allan Johnston had just a minute to celebrate the lead before United were back on level terms; Mackay-Steven's corner headed into the top corner by Good.

The Tangerines had recovered from a 2-1 deficit in the Scottish Cup to defeat Kilmarnock 5-2, and perhaps taking inspiration from that night they soon found themselves back in front.

Rankin fired a left foot shot from outside the area which Samson had to dive full stretch to tip wide. However he wasn't to be denied as United kept the pressure on, and after good play from Ciftci on the left he blasted into the roof of the net from close range.

The chances continued for both sides but it was United who finished stronger, and Robertson could have made it four with a pile-driver which Samson had to tip over the bar.

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 12Watson
  • 26Robertson
  • 8Rankin
  • 3Good
  • 20Souttar
  • 10ArmstrongSubstituted forDowat 56'minutes
  • 6Paton
  • 21CiftciSubstituted forGomisat 85'minutes
  • 11Mackay-StevenBooked at 76mins
  • 19GauldSubstituted forEl Alaguiat 57'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Dillon
  • 9Graham
  • 16Wilson
  • 18Dow
  • 25McCallum
  • 27Gomis
  • 29El Alagui

Kilmarnock

  • 1Samson
  • 2Tesselaar
  • 8Clingan
  • 30Ashcroft
  • 33MuirheadSubstituted forJohnstonat 76'minutes
  • 29Pascali
  • 18McKenzie
  • 5Irvine
  • 9Boyd
  • 20EremenkoBooked at 17mins
  • 28Slater

Substitutes

  • 7Nicholson
  • 10Johnston
  • 14Moberg-Karlsson
  • 22Maksimenko
  • 26O'Hara
  • 31Brennan
  • 36Kiltie
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
6,038

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home16
Away9
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home10
Away5
Fouls
Home8
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee United 3, Kilmarnock 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee United 3, Kilmarnock 2.

  3. Post update

    Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

  5. Post update

    John Rankin (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock).

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. John Rankin (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Morgaro Gomis replaces Nadir Ciftci.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Craig Samson.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andrew Robertson (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Gary Mackay-Steven.

  12. Post update

    Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock).

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alexei Eremenko (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the top left corner.

  15. Post update

    John Rankin (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock).

  17. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Curtis Good.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Farid El Alagui (Dundee United).

  19. Post update

    Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Chris Johnston replaces Robbie Muirhead.

Top Stories