Dundee Utd --- Hibernian: Report
Cruise for United
Dundee United collected all three points in their opening Clydesdale Bank Premier League fixture courtesy of a 3-0 victory over below-par Hibernian.
Johnny Russell's smart finish after only three minutes suggested Hibs were in for a long afternoon but despite commanding most of the play it took the hosts until 16 minutes from time to secure all three points.
Jon Daly headed in a second before Michael Gardyne came off the bench to score in injury time.
The home side had a number of penalty shouts turned down and Russell and Daly were guilty of missing decent chances in the second half before the latter wrapped up the points.
The competitive edge gleaned by United in their Europa League draw at home to Dinamo Moscow on Thursday night did not take long to shine through as Russell almost latched onto a weak defensive header by David Stephens in the second minute only to be caught by Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams, although the referee decided not to award an early penalty.
Russell picked himself up to score the opening goal just a minute later after a good cross from Barry Douglas was knocked down by captain Daly.
John Rankin latched onto the ball and picked out Russell who finished coolly past Williams.
The former Manchester United goalkeeper was having a shaky start on his Hibs debut as he fumbled another shot from Russell moments later and was lucky to see the ball float behind for a corner.
Hibs then threatened for the first time as the ball was worked to Leigh Griffiths inside the United penalty area but he was crowded out and his shot deflected safely into the hands of goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Gary Mackay-Steven demonstrated why he is thought of so highly at Tannadice as he turned his man with ease and shot just wide of Williams' post.
The home side had another penalty shout turned down after 20 minutes when James McPake seemed to push Daly as the two competed for a cross, but again referee Craig Thomson waved away any complaints.
Pat Fenlon's side then enjoyed a rare, if fleeting, spell of possession in and around the Dundee United box but only had an off-target effort from Eoin Doyle to show for it.
Ivan Sproule wasted an opportunity to catch United on a counter-attack after he was played into space by Griffiths. He was forced wide of the penalty area and could only fire across goal with none of his team-mates breaking to support him.
With 10 minutes remaining of the first half Williams redeemed himself for any early shakiness as he brilliantly tipped Daly's flicked header around a post following a good cross from Keith Watson.
The second half started slowly but Russell wasted a superb chance to score his second as he beat the offside trap and latched onto Mackay-Steven's through ball before screwing his shot wide of the far post.
Mackay-Steven was again involved moments later as he found Daly free inside the area but the Irish striker clipped the ball straight into Williams' hands.
The second goal finally came for the hosts in the 74th minute as Mackay-Steven powered an effort towards goal and Daly was on hand to get a telling touch with his head from close range.
The 21-year-old Mackay-Steven was given a standing ovation by the Dundee United support as he was replaced by Stuart Armstrong shortly after.
The Terrors controlled the game in the closing stages and added the gloss to a good performance when substitute Gardyne finished after being played through by Rankin.
Dundee Utd --- Hibernian: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.
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