Scottish Premiership
Dundee UtdDundee United3MotherwellMotherwell1

Scottish Premiership: Dundee United 3-1 Motherwell

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland

Dundee United moved back into contention for second spot in the Premiership with victory over fellow Europa League contenders Motherwell.

Slack defending handed United a commanding half-time lead through Ryan Dow and Gavin Gunning.

United went three clear when Gunning doubled his tally with a free-kick straight after the break.

Motherwell responded through a John Sutton penalty, but a United win never looked in danger.

Victory saw them narrow the gap to third-placed Motherwell to six points, although United have played one game more.

With Stuart McCall's men threatening to race 12 points clear of their hosts in the race for a Europa League spot, defeat was not an option for the Tangerines.

As United rose to the occasion, Motherwell looked short of ideas and have conceded 11 goals in their last four games.

Sutton went close to opening the scoring early on when he met Keith Lasley's corner at the back post, but after that it was a dominant first half by the home side.

Andrew Robertson and Stuart Armstrong were denied by last-ditch defending after racing into the box, while John Rankin and Nadir Ciftci fired in efforts.

Motherwell's back-line were being asked plenty of questions, but the opening goal arrived all too easily for United when Dow pounced on Shaun Hutchison's poor back-pass and coolly slot the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

Sutton was still proving to be a danger whenever the visitors could bring him into the game and, when he stretched to nod the ball into the path of Iain Vigurs, the summer signing was denied by a fine Radoslaw Cierzniak save.

Back came United and Ciftci skilfully drifted past two black shirts and fired just over.

Minutes later, a clever attacking move pulled Motherwell apart but Armstrong's low shot lacked any real weight and Ciftci could not finish the rebound.

The intense pressure eventually paid dividends when Gunning fired United 2-0 ahead. Ciftci was peeled away from his marker to head low into the path of the United defender, who celebrated his return from injury with an easy finish.

Only a minute into the second half Gunning found himself on a hat-trick, driving in a free-kick that took a favourable deflection off James McFadden beyond Gunnar Nielsen.

Motherwell responded, though, as Sutton's short free-kick found Lionel Ainsworth in space and his low shot tested Cierzniak.

That was followed by a needless Ciftci handball, the Turk leaping in the air and punching McFadden's free-kick - and allowing Sutton to score from the spot.

The hosts lacked the same inventiveness after that, but Gunning and Ciftci wasted opportunities inside the area before Nielson was forced into a double save to thwart Gary Mackay-Steven and Armstrong.


Dundee Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Cierzniak
  • 12Watson
  • 26Robertson
  • 8Rankin
  • 5Gunning
  • 3Good
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 6Paton
  • 21CiftciBooked at 57mins
  • 10S ArmstrongSubstituted forConnollyat 88'minutes
  • 18DowSubstituted forEl Alaguiat 78'minutes


  • 2Dillon
  • 9Graham
  • 16Wilson
  • 25McCallum
  • 27Gomis
  • 29El Alagui
  • 39Connolly


Formation 4-4-2

  • 12Nielsen
  • 3Hammell
  • 17Francis-Angol
  • 14Lasley
  • 5Hutchinson
  • 6McManus
  • 25AinsworthSubstituted forReidat 67'minutes
  • 18Carswell
  • 9Sutton
  • 7McFadden
  • 11VigursSubstituted forAnierat 77'minutes


  • 1Hollis
  • 2Reid
  • 23Murray
  • 24Anier
  • 26Leitch
  • 29Shirkie
  • 30Thomas
Bobby Madden

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamMotherwell
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee United 3, Motherwell 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee United 3, Motherwell 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Farid El Alagui (Dundee United).

  4. Post update

    Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

  7. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Steven Hammell.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Aidan Connolly replaces Stuart Armstrong.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Henri Anier (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. James McFadden (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Farid El Alagui (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  14. Post update

    Steven Hammell (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

  16. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Steven Hammell.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by John Rankin.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Farid El Alagui replaces Ryan Dow.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Henri Anier replaces Iain Vigurs.

  20. Post update

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

As It Stood

4Dundee Utd26118746311541
5Inverness CT2311572921838
6St Johnstone2495103129232
9St Mirren2666142442-1824
10Ross County2564153045-1522
11Partick Thistle26410122543-1822
View full Scottish Premiership table

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