Dundee United progress delights Jackie McNamara

John Rankin and Radoslaw Cierzniak celebrate Dundee United's win
United saw off Tayside rivals St Johnstone at Tannadice

Jackie NcNamara believes that ending St Johnstone's winning run against his side shows how much Dundee United have improved this season.

The Perth side had won the last four games between the two, the most recent being last season's Scottish Cup final.

"The areas where they hurt us, I think we've strengthened," United manager McNamara told BBC Scotland.

"We were solid enough and I don't think they really caused us problems defensively."

McNamara thought being able to bring players such as Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven and Blair Spittal off the bench proved important in a 2-0 win that puts United two points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

The manager picked out central defensive pairing of Jaroslaw Fojut and Callum Morris for special praise.

But it was the midfield duo of Chris Erskine and Paul Paton - players who followed McNamara to Tannadice from Partick Thistle - who scored United's two goals.

"I expect Erskine more to score, but not Paton - that's not really his forte," admitted the manager.

"But, credit to him, he got a good touch with his left foot and it comes in off the post. I'm delighted for him."

McNamara thought his side had stretched their unbeaten run to six games without reaching the top of their game.

"I didn't think it was the prettiest of games," he said. "I thought there were a lot of headers and kick-and-rush at times.

"But the little bits of quality I think were from us and the two goals as well.

"It was similar to some games this season. We've not played at our best, but today is the third game in six days, so to take account of that we made little changes because of knocks, niggles and a bit of fatigue."

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