Ross County pay the penalty as Dundee United snatch Tannadice points
Dundee United picked up their first win in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership since early August as they defeated flat Ross County 1-0 thanks to Billy McKay's late penalty at Tannadice.
McKay struck after 81 minutes following a foul on Scott Fraser by Martin Woods, to give new manager Mixu Paatelainen his first victory since replacing Jackie McNamara.
The home team had substitute Aidan Connolly red-carded for a second bookable offence in injury-time but still had enough to hold out for those three points.
United began well with Adam Taggart and John Rankin both having early efforts on goal as they put some pressure on the visitors' goal.
After 28 minutes, United appealed for a penalty when McKay's left-footed shot from 20 yards appeared to come off the hand of County full-back Ricky Foster, but referee Don Robertson saw nothing untoward.
Sean Dillon then played a diagonal pass to Taggart, and his shot was well saved by goalkeeper Gary Woods at his near post as half-time approached.
Soon after, Fraser's curling free-kick into the six-yard area was headed on by Jackson Irvine, only for County goalkeeper Gary Woods to deny what looked like a certain own goal, as he dived to claw away the ball.
County had disappeared in an attacking sense, although after 44 minutes Tony Dingwall tried his luck with a long-range effort which swerved viciously in the air, prompting Michal Szromnik to tip it over his bar at the expense of a corner.
After a promising first half, United came out in a similar manner at the restart and Taggart collected Fraser's pass, firing a low shot beyond Woods' far post.
County suffered a setback after 53 minutes when skipper Andrew Davies was stretchered off as a result of a head knock following a mid-air collision with McGowan.
John Souttar had a golden opportunity to put his side ahead after 55 minutes when he latched onto Dillon's deep cross. But he failed to keep the effort down and it sailed high over the bar, before Rankin dragged a shot wide towards the hour mark.
County, making a rare foray forward, had a 64th0minute chance through Scott Boyd's free header from Martin Woods' cross, but the substitute nodded considerably over the target.
However, they got their reward after 81 minutes when Martin Woods was rightly punished for a foul on Fraser.
With all the pressure on his shoulders, McKay stepped up to calmly send Gary Woods the wrong way from the spot.
Gary Woods almost redeemed himself with a 30-yard drive which skimmed Szromnik's bar a few minutes later, but United held out for that elusive win despite having Connolly ordered off for a second booking deep into time added on.