Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara praised the result over the performance after his side edged out Partick Thistle 1-0 at Tannadice.
Nadir Ciftci's late penalty gave United the win after he was brought down by Danny Seaborne.
"I don't think it was the best of games," said McNamara.
"We didn't create a lot - certainly not as much as I'd like, but it's a win and a clean sheet - which is important."
The three points keep McNamara's side just one point off league-leaders Hamilton, but the manager was anticipating a livelier performance from his players.
"I said before the game what I was expecting from their work-rate and desire to get the ball back," said McNamara.
"We did that, but we didn't play our best - but crucially, we got the three points."
Thistle could have taken the lead early in the match through a Kris Doolan shot that Radoslaw Cierzniak tipped round the post, but United immediately replied through a Ciftci shot which Scott Fox saved easily.
"We cancelled each other out in the midfield area, and there was a lot of slack passing and possession," said McNamara.
"We could have gone one up, but Nadir was frustrated at half-time and he got the opportunity when Scott Fox pulled off a great save, but he came up with a crucial moment for us to win the match.
"We've not been playing at our best and today is a game we would probably have lost last year.
"Nadir showed his pace and strength in what had been a frustrating afternoon for him again, so I'm pleased he took the penalty and scored."