Dundee Utd 1 St Mirren 0
Dundee United leapfrogged St Mirren into ninth place in the Bank of Scotland Premier League table with a 1-0 win over the Paisley club at Tannadice.
Noel Hunt scored the only goal of the game in the 64th minute when he forced the ball over the line after David Robertson turned a Stuart Duff delivery back across the face of goal.
The visitors created some good chances in the first half and John Sutton was left aggrieved when he was adjudged offside in the 22nd minute while through on goal.
The match had begun in fiery fashion with a late challenge from David Robertson on Richard Brittain opening proceedings, but the opening stages yielded little positive football.
In the 11th minute, a mistimed sliding tackle by Lee Mair on Simon Lappin handed St Mirren a free-kick 25 yards from goal.
But Lappin blasted his shot straight into a resolute United wall positioned far less than the required 10 yards away.
The home side responded with their first shot of the game six minutes later when Stuart Duff surged forward and sent a low drive from 25 yards past Tony Bullock’s left-hand post.
Bullock was again called into action when Hunt’s header following Barry Robson’s cross forced a good save from the English keeper.
However, United were fortunate not to fall behind in the 22nd minute, as Sutton was ruled offside when racing through on goal.
The former Dundee striker looked to have timed his run well even though his fellow forward Billy Mehmet was retreating from behind the United backline.
Sutton was then denied by a fine block from Derek Stillie, who was well placed to parry a powerful left-footed strike from 14 yards.
The United keeper was under pressure shortly afterwards though, when an inswinging corner from the right-hand side by Lappin caused all sorts of problems in the home penalty area.
Eventually the ball broke to Buddies’ central defender John Potter, but his volley was deflected by Robson and the ball went behind for another corner which was punched clear by Stillie.
Then Kirk Broadfoot delivered a good cross from the left, which was met by the head of the on-rushing Murray.
However, the 27-year-old failed to get his angles right and could only watch a downward header bounce off the turf and fly wide.
United started the second period in better fashion and, nine minutes after the restart, Robertson’s well controlled shot from the edge of the St Mirren area was deflected wide by Murray.
The resultant corner was played into the box by Robson and, although Garry Kenneth’s header at the back post was turned into the net by Robertson, referee Brian Winter had already adjudged the United defender had fouled Broadfoot.
St Mirren midfielder Lappin was then frustrated at watching a dangerous free-kick to the back post somehow elude all of his team-mates and harmlessly drift out.
The combination of Robson and Kenneth continued to bring the visitors problems at United set-pieces and, from a 61st-minute corner by Tannadice captain, the defender headed just wide.
However, the opening goal was not long in coming and, three minutes later, Hunt made the breakthrough.
Duff’s cross was headed back across goal by Robertson and Hunt surged in at the back post to nod the ball over the line from close range.
United were forced into making the first substitution of the match as Kenneth succumbed to a foot injury and was replaced by Alan Archibald.
St Mirren withdrew Brittain following a clash of heads with Robertson and striker Stewart Kean was thrown into the action.
That allowed the Paisley team to play with three forwards in an adventurous 3-4-3 formation, but Broadfoot almost hit an equaliser when he headed over with 18 minutes remaining.
In the 74th minute, Robson and Broadfoot were both cautioned for unsporting behaviour.
Stillie was eventually forced to make a save in the 84th minute when he leapt across goal to gather a Mehmet header following another dangerous delivery by Lappin.