United well in charge
Fri 21st Feb 7.45pm
Dundee United reduced the deficit on third-placed Motherwell with a straight forward 3-1 victory at Tannadice.
Ryan Dow gave them the lead midway through the opening half and returning defender Gavin Gunning added further goals either side of the break. John Sutton managed a reply from the penalty spot but the outcome was never really in doubt.
After Sutton had threatened from an early Keith Lasley corner, United soon took charge with John Rankin and Nadir Ciftci both having efforts. And they were rewarded as Dow seized upon a weak back-pass to open the scoring.
But Radoslaw Cierzniak was required to deny a reply from Iain Vigurs before Ciftci struck too high at the other end. The Turkish front-runner then couldn't find the finish following Dow's blocked effort.
Ciftci did though help set-up Gunning for a comfortable goal three minutes before the break. And the former Blackburn Rovers centre-back grabbed his second of the evening from a deflected free-kick early in the second-half.
Lionel Ainsworth forced a save from Cierzniak by way of response, until Ciftci handled a James McFadden free-kick inside his own area and Sutton calmly slotted in the penalty.
Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong later produced a double-stop from keeper Gunnar Nielsen after earlier chances for both Gunning and Ciftci, while Motherwell substitute Henri Anier tried a far post header.
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Watson, Good, Gunning, Robertson, Paton, Rankin, Armstrong (Connolly 88), Mackay-Steven, Dow (El Alagui 78), Ciftci
subs (unused): Dillon, Graham, Wilson, Gomis, McCallum
Goals: Dow (22), Gunning (42, 47)
Motherwell: Nielsen, Hammell, Francis-Angol, Lasley, Hutchinson, McManus, Ainsworth (Reid 67), Carswell, Sutton, McFadden, Vigurs (Anier 77)
subs (unused): Hollis, Murray, Leitch, Shirkie, Thomas
Goals: Sutton (pen 57)
Ref: B. Madden