Dundee United boost survival hopes with victory at Ross County
Dundee United gave their Ladbrokes Premiership survival bid a boost with a convincing 3-0 victory over a lacklustre Ross County at Global Energy Stadium.
United skipper Paul Paton headed the visitors in front after 10 minutes and two goals in six minutes midway through the second period from Billy McKay and substitute Ryan Dow wrapped up the points.
United started brightly and won a free-kick in a dangerous position in the second minute after Martin Woods brought down John Rankin. From Paton's floated delivery Coll Donaldson glanced his header wide of the near post.
County threatened in the seventh minute when Michael Gardyne got to the byline and his cross was turned behind for a corner.
Ian McShane delivered the ball to the near post but Paul Quinn's header flew well over the crossbar. Quinn's claims he was being held by Donaldson were ignored by referee John Beaton.
But United went ahead as they forced a corner of their own on the left and Paton was left unmarked to head into the net.
United were bossing the midfield area and Scott Fraser went on a mazy run inside the County box before being stopped in his tracks.
In a rare foray up-field County won a corner on the left and McShane's delivery was touched on by Jackson Irvine but Andrew Davies fired into the side netting from a tight angle.
The home side had another chance in the 41st minute when Davies got on the end of another McShane corner but the ball came off the top of his head and finished well over.
But United looked the more dangerous and Paton tried his luck with a long-range effort on goal which cleared the crossbar.
County made a change at the start of the second half with wide man Jonathan Franks replacing McShane in the middle of the park.
In the first real attack of the second period Paul Dixon curled an inviting ball into the County box which Fraser failed to control and Quinn knocked behind for a corner.
United doubled their lead in the 71st minute when a Fraser ball across the face of goal was blasted in at the far post by McKay.
Brian Graham had a chance to pull one back when he controlled a long ball from Fraser but United goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima saved with his feet.
It was a chance County needed to take because it was 3-0 for United in the 77th minute when Scott Fox did well to keep a Donaldson header out but Dow was on hand to nod home the rebound from close range.
County's afternoon was summed up with a late effort from Gardyne which beat Kawashima but rebounded off the inside of the far post and back into the arms of the keeper.