Tangerines grind out win
Dundee United continued their recent run of fine form thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over lowly Ross County at Tannadice.
Gary Mackay-Steven's 69th-minute winner was enough to give them the three points and leave second-bottom County languishing near the foot of the the table.
United were strong favourites to continue their purple patch as they faced a Ross County team which had taken only one point from their previous seven league outings.
The Taysiders began as though they meant business and created their first chance in seven minutes when Ryan Gauld released Stuart Armstrong who was about to pull the trigger before former Tannadice defender Brian McLean got back to intercept with a sliding challenge.
Shortly after, County went up the field in search of the opener and Kevin Luckassen's cross looked like it was going to pick out Melvin De Leeuw who went to try and get his head on it, but could not connect just yards from goal.
The hosts had an opportunity in the 12th minute when they cut the County defence apart after John Rankin's threaded pass sent full-back Andrew Robertson free down the left.
Robertson then squared the ball for Brian Graham but as the big striker rolled the ball into the net, the flag went up for offside to deny them the opener.
Midway through the first-half, Graham Carey's free-kick eluded the entire United defence before bouncing up and hitting off the crossbar much to the relief of goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
On the half-hour mark, Robertson sent over an inch-perfect cross for Graham whose header was well held by visiting keeper Michael Fraser.
United looked the more likely side to make the breakthrough and, on the stroke of half-time, Paul Paton put Mark Wilson clear down the right and his cross was met by Graham, but County keeper Michael Fraser saved from point-blank range.
At the start of the second half, the hosts put together another decent move which saw Mackay-Steven's pass being left by Paton for the on-rushing Rankin.
Rankin had only one intention which was to shoot and he left fly from 25 yards, only to see his effort go just over the bar.
It was all United by this stage and next up to try his luck was Armstrong with a low 22-yard effort which fizzed just wide of Fraser's right-hand post.
They attempted to lift things in the 64th minute with a double substitution which saw Nadir Ciftci and David Goodwillie replace Gauld and Graham.
Then, with his first touch, Ciftci almost put United ahead with a powerful volley but Fraser pulled off a brilliant save.
But they did not have too much longer to wait until they finally went ahead in the 69th minute.
Ciftci spread the ball out to Armstrong who, in turn, crossed for Mackay-Steven who finished well from 12 yards.
After that the home team remained on top while County were restricted to mainly shots from distance as the points remained on Tayside.