United lose seven-goal thriller
Sun 30th Dec 3pm
Dundee United's defensive woes continued as Brian McLean was sent-off in a 4-3 defeat to St Mirren at Tannadice.
The Buddies went in front early on courtesy of Paul Dummett but their opponents scored twice during a three-minute spell through Jon Daly's penalty and Stuart Armstrong to lead at the interval.
Steven Thompson soon had their visitors level and Marc McAusland eased them in front before McLean was sent-off. David van Zanten then added another until Barry Douglas' last-minute consolation.
After early pressure from the home side in which Gavin Gunning and Daly each had headers failing to seriously concern goalkeeper Craig Samson, the Paisley outfit forged ahead when Dummett turned in Gary Teale's 16th minute cross.
Following a couple more headers at the other end from Gunning and then Johnny Russell, the hosts nearly slipped further behind when Thompson struck wide after Keith Watson had already cleared his header off the line.
But skipper Daly equalised from the spot after being fouled by Dummett with two minutes of the opening half remaining.
And there was still enough time for midfielder Armstrong to send them into the lead when when trying his luck from distance moments later.
St Mirren were already back in it just five minutes into the second-half when Thompson charged down from Gunning and finished past home goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Sixteen minutes later McAusland added number three for the visitors following Teale's free-kick delivery, although United substitute Michael Gardyne could have immediately levelled when instead blazing over.
However, once McLean was dismissed for a challenge on John McGinn the Tangerines' chances of launching a recovery appeared to recede, and that was soon confirmed as van Zanten's cross evaded both Gunning and Cierzniak to open up a two-goal deficit.
Home defender Douglas managed a last-minute reply from a free-kick but his side still remain without win in front of their own supporters since August.
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Watson, McLean, Gunning, Douglas, Flood (Gardyne 26), Rankin, Millar, Armstrong, Russell, Daly
subs (unused): Banks, Petrie, Soutattar, Ryan, Skacel, Dow
Goals: Daly (pen 43), Armstrong (45), Douglas (90)
St Mirren: Samson, van Zanten, Dummett, McAusland, Goodwin, Robertson (Barron 70), McGowan, Teale, Thompson, Guy, J. McGinn
subs (unused): Smith, Mair, Kelly, Carey, Imrie, Parkin
Goals: Dummett (16), Thompson (50), McAusland (66), van Zanten (78)