Dundee United moved up to fifth in the Premiership table with this hard-fought 2-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Tannadice.
The Tangerines opened the scoring in the 25th minute thanks to Marc McNulty with the on-loan Reading frontman smartly making space for himself before clinically drilling a shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards.
Then just three minutes later, his strike partner Lawrence Shankland made it two, latching onto a Luke Bolton cross from the left before turning a defender and prodding past Killie keeper Danny Rogers for his first goal since September.
The Ayrshire side battled manfully to claw their way back into the contest but they eventually ran out of steam and have now lost four games in a row.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors as a long ball out of defence was pounced on by KIllie’s Eamonn Brophy with the striker hitting a low shot that was easily gathered by home keeper Benji Siegrist.
United manufactured an opportunity of their own as Jamie Robson made a powerful run from inside his own half before finding Shankland but Killie keeper Rogers comfortably dealt with his shot.
The Ayrshire side then spurned the best chance of the game so far when Chris Burke fired a dangerous cross in from the right with Greg Kiltie shooting wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy.
Killie were made to rue that missed opportunity as United hit them with their quickfire double.
The visitors looked for a big response after the break and came close to pulling one back but Calum Waters’ header from an Aaron Tshibola cross flew just wide of Siegrist’s post.
United struggled to build on their lead with the deadly duo up front starved of ammunition as the half progressed.
However, the Tangerines did finally create a chance with fine interplay between substitute Peter Pawlett and Paul McMullan but the latter’s shot flew over.
There was another promising opening as McNulty teed up Shankland but the normally deadly frontman fluffed his lines and the chance was lost.
Home substitute Nicky Clark had an immediate opportunity to get on the scoresheet but his shot was saved with United then howling for a penalty as McMullan crashed to the turf under a defender’s challenge but referee Steven McLean was not convinced.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.