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Dundee United score late winner in game of two controversial red cards

Celtic v Dundee United – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Dundee United moved level on points with third-placed Hearts following a pulsating 1-0 cinch Premiership victory over Aberdeen at Tannadice.

Both sides were reduced to 10 men just before half-time in two separate controversial incidents which saw Calum Butcher and Funso Ojo dismissed.

And Ian Harkes scored the only goal of the game in the 80th minute to secure a home win.

There was a frantic opening between the north-east rivals with challenges flying in from both sides.

The first chance arrived in the 14th minute when an Aberdeen free-kick fell to unmarked Dons striker Christian Ramirez but the American hit his low angled drive past United keeper Benjamin Siegrist’s right-hand post.

The home side finally had a shot of note of their own in the 29th minute when full-back Kieran Freeman drilled an angled drive from inside the Aberdeen box which flew just past Dons keeper Joe Lewis’ right-hand post.

However, just before half-time, there were two huge incidents of controversy.

In the 42nd minute, Ramirez and United defender Ryan Edwards squared up in the centre of the park with the striker tumbling to the turf, with home midfielder Butcher deemed guilty by referee Bobby Madden of catching Ramirez with a low blow and was shown a straight red card.

Three minutes later, the Dons were also reduced to 10 men. Ojo’s momentum had taken him into the lower reaches of the Eddie Thompson stand where he appeared to be pushed in the chest by a home supporter. However, Madden – who had booked Ojo earlier in the half – flashed a second yellow followed by a red to the incredulous Dons player who had to be escorted down the tunnel as he was barracked by the United fans.

The drama continued with Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass sent to the stands at half-time.

The Dons had a chance in the 67th minute when sub Teddy Jenks found space in the United box but Siegrist parried his shot.

Ten minutes later, United’s Nicky Clark tried his luck with an audacious overhead kick but his effort was too high.

Home sub Louis Appere then embarked on a run down the left before hitting a shot which Lewis turned on to his post and behind.

However, the Tangerines did finally break the deadlock in the 80th minute. Scott McMann swung a corner in from the left with the ball making its way to Harkes who produced a fine finish with the outside of his right foot to secure all three points for the home side.

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