Match ends, Dundee United 3, Kilmarnock 1.
Dundee United maintained their excellent home record by beating Kilmarnock in a feisty match sprinkled with fine pieces of individual skill.
Nadir Ciftci took Stuart Armstrong's threaded pass to put United ahead but Manuel Pascali equalised after Rory McKenzie's effort came back off a post.
United replied almost immediately through Armstrong's shot on the turn.
Then substitute Aidan Connolly wrapped things up to ensure 19 points from 21 for United at home this season.
Kilmarnock, though, have now lost four league games on the spin, despite playmaker Alexei Eremenko taking turns to shine with the hosts Ciftci.
It was a feisty contest, summed up by United manager Jackie McNamara's heated debate with Pascali as the teams parted for half-time, and one the hosts had the upper hand in early.
Armstrong, so often the orchestrator of excellent moves, impressed again with a perfect through-ball for Ciftci, who recorded his fifth goal of the season by thumping a low right-footed drive across Craig Samson and into the far corner.
The Turkish striker was clearly boosted by such an accomplished finish, as either side of Gary Mackay-Steven's whizzing free-kick, the former NAC Breda man displayed a repertoire of brilliant flicks and deft chips.
But, crucially, he failed to finish when put clear by a Chris Erskine pass and the visitors pulled level soon after.
Eremenko had been quiet, but his beautiful pass to Rory McKenzie was an afternoon's work in itself.
The 21-year-old ran in from the right to rattle the inside of a post, but the rebound fell to Pascali at the edge of the box and the Italian side-footed through a ruck of players and into the centre of the net.
That restored parity, but not for long. United pressed again and this time Armstrong glided infield and exchanged passes with Erskine before beating Samson with a left-footer that found the bottom right corner from 16 yards.
Robbie Muirhead's 25-yard rasper almost levelled things but after the break United continued to threaten.
Armstrong teed up Ciftci for a point-blank effort which Samson saved well, and the goalkeeper had to thwart a low Armstrong shot a few minutes later.
Ciftci was withdrawn towards the end but replacement Connolly wrapped up the points on the counter-attack with a simple tap-in from Blair Spittal's centre.
- 6PatonBooked at 55mins
- 21TelferBooked at 36mins
- 17ErskineSubstituted forDowat 70'minutes
- 7CiftciSubstituted forConnollyat 84'minutes
- 11Mackay-StevenSubstituted forSpittalat 70'minutes
- 2BarbourBooked at 64mins
- 33MuirheadSubstituted forCairneyat 73'minutesBooked at 81mins
- 20EremenkoSubstituted forJohnstonat 67'minutesBooked at 74mins
- 28MagennisSubstituted forMillerat 68'minutes
- John Beaton
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee United 3, Kilmarnock 1.
Attempt saved. Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Goal! Dundee United 3, Kilmarnock 1. Aidan Connolly (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Blair Spittal.
Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Sean Dillon (Dundee United).
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jaroslaw Fojut.
Attempt saved. Ross Barbour (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ross Barbour.
Hand ball by Chris Chantler (Kilmarnock).
Mark Connolly (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ryan Dow (Dundee United).
Substitution, Dundee United. Aidan Connolly replaces Nadir Ciftci.
Foul by Lee Miller (Kilmarnock).
Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Paul Cairney (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sean Dillon (Dundee United).
Attempt blocked. Paul Paton (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Paul Cairney (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Sean Dillon (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.