Dundee United 4 Brechin City 1
Tue 2nd Jan 3.00pm
Ten-man Dundee United moved within three points of the leaders following a 4-1 victory against bottom-of-the-table Brechin City at Tannadice.
Early goals from Scott McDonald and Sam Stanton had them well in charge before the former added his second of the contest straight after the break.
James Keatings then converted a penalty after McDonald was fouled, but team-mate Paul McMullan soon picked up a second yellow card and was sent-off.
Jordan Sinclair went on to claim a solitary consolation for the visitors from the spot after Tam Scobbie was penalised.
The Tangerines still have a game in hand on leaders St Mirren, who were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw after conceding a late equaliser at Greenock Morton.
The hosts couldn't really have made a better start, with McDonald immediately finding the net from just inside the area after Jamie Robson linked up with Billy King.
That was soon added to by on loan midfielder Stanton following a corner delivery, although centre-back Mark Durnan later took a knock and was replaced by Cammy Ballantyne for the second-half.
The recent Montrose loanee was instantly involved as McDonald rapidly extended the advantage, before Keatings netted from a penalty after goalkeeper Graeme Smith brought down the busy McDonald.
However, McMullan, who'd already been cautioned during the first-half, was then given his marching orders for simulation around the hour-mark.
The relegation favourites were to reduce the deficit from a 64th minute penalty despatched by Sinclair, while King later missed the opportunity of a fifth goal when twice denied by the keeper.
Dundee United: Lewis, Scobbie, Durnan (Ballantyne 46), Quinn, Robson, McMullan, Stanton, Flood (Allardice 55), King, Keatings (Smith 71), McDonald
subs (unused): Mehmet, Appere, Chalmers, Inglis
Goals: McDonald (1, 49), Stanton (7), Keatings (pen 52)
Brechin City: Smith, Smith, Crighton, Fusco, Lynas, Sinclair (Orsi 78), Dale, Graham (Watt 61, Spark, McLennan, Layne (Jackson 56)
subs (unused): McLean, Dyer, O'Neil, O'Neil
Goals: Sinclair (pen 64)
Ref: A. Newlands