Dundee United bounced back from Wednesday’s Betfred Cup defeat to Dundee with this hard-earned victory over Queen of the South at Tannadice.
The Tangerines opened the scoring through Scott McDonald before Callum Fordyce equalised for the visitors. The home side were then reduced to 10 men before half-time when Paul McMullan was given his marching orders.
Against all the odds, it was United who scored what proved to be the winner thanks to sub Scott Fraser.
Dundee United boss Ray McKinnon made three changes from the side that was beaten by Dundee with Stewart Murdoch, James Keatings and Jamie Robson coming in for Tam Scobbie, Lewis Toshney and Jordie Briels.
There was also a place on the bench for former Ross County defender Paul Quinn who signed a short-term deal with the club this morning.
Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith included former Tangerines favourite John Rankin in his team as skipper while St Johnstone’s Chris Kane and Jason Kerr who joined the Dumfries side on loan earlier this week, were named as subs.
There was a subdued start to the game with both sides struggling to carve out anything worthy of note in front of goal.
United did finally come close to opening the scoring in the 17th minute when Billy King and McMullan combined before playing the ball to Robson with his cross from the left cannoning back off Queens keeper Alan Martin’s far post.
However, just a minute later, the Tangerines took the lead. McMullan burst down the left and ran unchallenged before crossing the ball to McDonald who had the simplest of tasks to prod home from point-blank range for his first goal for the club.
United tails were up but they were stunned in the 25th minute when the ball broke to Doonhamers centre-half Fordyce inside the home penalty area and he rifled past Tangerines keeper Harry Lewis to bring the scores level.
McKinnon’s men were then sensationally reduced to 10 men in the 36th minute. McMullan tangled with Queens Shaun Rooney on the touchline with the United winger lashing out with his hands at the opposition full-back. Referee Nick Walsh took his time before showing Rooney a yellow card followed by a red for McMullan.
Tempers were fraying all round with home goalkeeping coach Stuart Garden sent to the stands on the stroke of half-time for mouthing off at the officials.
United had a big scare in the 52nd minute when Lewis dropped a free-kick but Queens could not capitalise however the keeper made amends shortly after when he dived to save a Lyndon Dykes shot.
Despite being a man down, the Tangerines were still going for the win and had a great chance in the 64th minute when a cross from Fraser made it all the way through to Billy King but his goalbound shot was blocked and cleared.
However, the two United men combined again in the 68th minute and this time it paid dividends. King played the ball into the path of Fraser 14 yards out and he made no mistake firing low past Martin to restore his side’s lead.
Queens then had a huge opportunity when Stephen Dobbie played sub Kane straight in on goal but Lewis rushed out to block and then gather the striker’s shot.
The keeper made another invaluable save from a fierce angled drive by Jordan Marshall to ensure that United took all three points.
For full report, reaction and analysis, see Monday’s Courier.