United ease to victory
Dundee United continued their recent run of fine form on Saturday as they swept past nine-man Partick Thistle with a 4-1 victory at Tannadice in the SPFL.
Jackie McNamara's men were comfortable winners in the end to see off their visitors who had Aaron Muirhead and Stuart Bannigan sent off to make matters worse.
Gary Mackay-Steven put the Taysiders ahead before Muirhead equalised from the penalty spot after 55 minutes.
But United were always on top and regained the lead through Andrew Robertson, while further goals from Mackay-Steven and substitute Brian Graham left the Jags without reply following the dismissals of Muirhead and Bannigan.
United wasted no time by surging ahead after just two minutes.
Stuart Armstrong started the move by feeding Ryan Gauld and the talented teenager strode forward and looked as though he was going to roll the ball into the path of team-mate Mark Wilson.
But instead the highly-rated attacker turned before slipping in Mackay-Steven who took a touch before lashing his finish low into the corner past helpless visiting goalkeeper Scott Fox.
It was a dream start for the hosts who were looking to make Tannadice a fortress again having beaten St Mirren 4-0 in their previous home outing.
The Tangerines were brimming with confidence and nobody more so than Gauld who minutes later went on a trademark mazy run, only to be foiled at the vital moment by Partick defender Muirhead who produced a last-gasp saving tackle inside the box.
Next up Nadir Ciftci tried his luck with a swerving 25-yard show which Fox did well to parry wide for a corner as the home team pressed in a bid to increase their lead.
It seemed a only a matter of time before United found the net again and they came close again in 19 minutes.
In a sweeping move, Gauld laid the ball to Ciftci who, in turn, fed Paul Paton whose reverse pass picked out Armstrong, but his low shot was blocked by Muirhead.
From the rebound, former Partick midfielder Paton's curled shot whistled just wide of Fox's left-hand post.
In 25 minutes, Mackay-Steven had a chance to grab his second of the afternoon when he ran on to Armstrong's through ball which caught the Thistle defence napping.
Mackay-Steven did brilliantly to lift the ball over the head of Fox who had raced off his line but Muirhead did just enough to get back and clear off the line.
Kris Doolan got Thistle's first chance after 38 minutes but from 12 yards he could only shoot right into the arms of home keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Thistle could not have been much worse after the break after being battered for long
spells in the first half, and soon they were back on level terms.
Ross Forbes' driven shot hit the hand of young United defender John Sootier, with referee Willie Collum pointing straight to the spot.
Up stepped Muirhead who kept his head to send Cierzniak the opposite way and hand the visitors an equaliser which had not looked on the cards.
But their joy was short-lived as the hosts regained the lead in 69 minutes.
Robertson ran on to Gauld's weighted pass and duly picked his spot as he sent an angled drive low into Fox's far corner.
Worse was to follow for the Jags in 75 minutes as Muirhead clattered Mackay-Steven to pick up his second yellow card of the afternoon after being booked for a first-half foul on Wilson.
Then, after 77 minutes, Mackay-Steven made it 3-1 when he glided on to another Gauld assist before dinking the ball over Fox to make the points safe.
The icing on the cake came in 84 minutes as Gauld again did the hard work for substitute Brian Graham who lashed the ball high past stranded Fox.
Right at the death, Bannigan was shown a straight red card for a late lunge on Mackay-Steven to complete Thistle's misery.