Dundee Utd 3 - 1 Inverness CT
Fit-again Jon Daly came off the bench to score with his first touch of the ball to secure a hard-fought win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis denied Gregory Tade before on-loan Fulham forward Lauri Dalla Valle fired the hosts ahead after 13 minutes.
Nick Ross forced in an equaliser from Tade's cross three minutes later.
But Danny Swanson's lofted finish two minutes from the break and Daly's 71st-minute header won it for United.
United manager Peter Houston had resisted the temptation to start Daly following the striker's quicker than expected return from knee ligament damage and Ryan Dow was given the job of replacing the suspended Johnny Russell.
And the young forward threatened within a minute only for his shot to be blocked by Roman Golobart.
But Inverness, with Greg Tansey preferred to Gavin Morrison in midfield, were the more threatening side early on and Pernis turned wide a Tade drive.
From the corner, Andrew Shinnie flashed a header wide.
United went in front when Dalla Valle made room for himself before firing low and hard across goalkeeper Ryan Esson for the Finnish striker's first goal since arriving on loan from Fulham.
Inverness composed themselves and were level within three minutes when Tade's cross following some poor United defending was forced over the line by a combination of Ross and United's Paul Dixon.
Dalla Valle was denied a carbon copy of his opening goal as Esson superbly turned the striker's shot wide.
Swanson squandered a chance when he fired across the face of goal with Caley Thistle claiming a hand ball against Willo Flood.
However, the United winger made no mistake as half-time approached when Tade lost possession inside his own half and, when defender Golobart hesitated, Swanson gathered the ball and lifted it over Esson.
The former Berwick Rangers man was the first to threaten after the break with a drive from the edge of the penalty box that stung the hands of Esson.
Caley Thistle's goalkeeper was forced to concede a corner when United defender Gavin Gunning tried an audacious 40-yard drive that was touched wide by Esson.
Tade should have done better at the other end when the striker's pace took him clear of the United defence, but his effort was blocked by the feet of Pernis.
Daly was introduced to the action in place of Dow after 68 minutes and, with his first touch of the ball, the striker headed United further ahead from a Dixon cross.
Graeme Shinnie fired over from close range for Inverness in the closing minutes, but United were already home and dry.
Live Text Commentary
Foul by Gregory Tade on Gavin Gunning, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Scott Robertson.89:05 Full time
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.87:56
Free kick awarded for a foul by John Rankin on Andrew Shinnie. Shot comes in from Greg Tansey from the free kick.87:14
Keanu Marsh-Brown concedes a free kick for a foul on Graeme Shinnie. Ross Tokely takes the free kick.86:15
A cross is delivered by Ross Tokely, Shot from deep inside the area by Andrew Shinnie clears the crossbar.83:04 Booking
Booking Greg Tansey shown a yellow card.82:49
Greg Tansey concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Swanson. Direct free kick taken by Willo Flood.81:26
Unfair challenge on Graeme Shinnie by Keanu Marsh-Brown results in a free kick. Andrew Shinnie crosses the ball in from the free kick, save made by Dusan Pernis.78:30 Substitution
Substitution Keanu Marsh-Brown is brought on as a substitute for Lauri Dalla Valle.76:47 Booking
Booking Lauri Dalla Valle is shown a yellow card.76:13
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Proctor by Lauri Dalla Valle. Graeme Shinnie restarts play with the free kick.75:12
David Davis gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Rankin. Indirect free kick taken by Willo Flood.73:09
Lauri Dalla Valle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Shinnie. Ryan Esson restarts play with the free kick.71:57
Shot by Greg Tansey from just outside the area goes over the net.70:10
Assist on the goal came from Paul Dixon.70:10 Goal scored
Goal! - Jon Daly - Dundee U 3 - 1 Inverness Jon Daly finds the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Dundee Utd 3-1 Inverness CT.68:02
Free kick crossed right-footed by Paul Dixon.68:02 Substitution
Substitution Ryan Dow leaves the field to be replaced by Jon Daly.68:02 Booking
Booking Thomas Piermayr is cautioned.67:55
Thomas Piermayr challenges Daniel Swanson unfairly and gives away a free kick.
Graeme Shinnie fouled by Lauri Dalla Valle, the ref awards a free kick. Graeme Shinnie crosses the ball in from the free kick, Paul Dixon manages to make a clearance.64:13
Short corner worked by Nick Ross.63:01
Nick Ross takes a outswinging corner.62:00
Graeme Shinnie fouled by Ryan Dow, the ref awards a free kick. Graeme Shinnie takes the indirect free kick.60:56
David Proctor challenges Lauri Dalla Valle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Willo Flood takes the indirect free kick.56:40
Andrew Shinnie concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Dow. Willo Flood restarts play with the free kick.55:26 Substitution
Substitution (Inverness CT) makes a substitution, with Shane Sutherland coming on for Richie Foran.52:43
Corner taken right-footed by Daniel Swanson, save made by Ryan Esson.51:15
Daniel Swanson takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Daniel Swanson takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Ross Tokely makes a clearance. Clearance made by Graeme Shinnie. Gavin Gunning takes a shot. Ryan Esson makes a save.48:49
Short corner worked by Graeme Shinnie. Nick Ross decides to take the corner short.45:01
The second half kicks off.46:01
Corner taken short by Nick Ross. Corner crossed in by Graeme Shinnie.45:01
The referee blows for offside against Gregory Tade. Free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.45:01 Substitution
Substitution David Proctor on for Roman Golobart.45:00 +3:53 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.45:00 +2:38
Close range effort by Greg Tansey misses to the left of the target.45:00 +2:08
A cross is delivered by Nick Ross.45:00 +0:38
Daniel Swanson concedes a free kick for a foul on Graeme Shinnie. Direct free kick taken by Graeme Shinnie.42:59
Paul Dixon provided the assist for the goal.42:59 Goal scored
Goal! - Danny Swanson - Dundee U 2 - 1 Inverness Daniel Swanson grabs a goal from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Dundee Utd 2-1 Inverness CT.40:54
Effort from deep inside the area by Daniel Swanson misses to the right of the target.39:05
Nick Ross crosses the ball, clearance made by Garry Kenneth.36:44
Roman Golobart concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Swanson. Daniel Swanson produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by Ryan Esson.31:13
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Daniel Swanson, Roman Golobart manages to make a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Daniel Swanson to the near post, clearance by Ross Tokely.30:33
Daniel Swanson fouled by Andrew Shinnie, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Paul Dixon from right channel.28:43
Foul by Richie Foran on Gavin Gunning, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.27:37
Richie Foran fouled by Garry Kenneth, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Graeme Shinnie.25:58
Foul by Scott Robertson on Andrew Shinnie, free kick awarded. Andrew Shinnie restarts play with the free kick.23:32
David Davis produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.21:19
David Davis takes a shot. Blocked by Dusan Pernis. Nick Ross decides to take a short corner.17:09
Corner taken by Daniel Swanson. Corner taken by Daniel Swanson from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Ross Tokely.15:46
Assist on the goal came from Andrew Shinnie.15:46 Goal scored
Goal! - Nick Ross - Dundee U 1 - 1 Inverness Nick Ross gets on the score sheet with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 1-1 Inverness CT.14:10
Greg Tansey challenges Willo Flood unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Garry Kenneth.12:46
Assist by Scott Robertson.12:46 Goal scored
Goal! - Lauri Dalla Valle - Dundee U 1 - 0 Inverness Lauri Dalla Valle grabs a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 1-0 Inverness CT.9:02
Free kick awarded for a foul by Gregory Tade on Daniel Swanson. Free kick taken by Willo Flood.8:23
The assistant referee flags for offside against Ryan Dow. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.4:27
Gregory Tade takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.2:23
John Rankin is penalised for a handball. Ryan Esson takes the indirect free kick.0:58
Ryan Dow takes a shot. Roman Golobart gets a block in.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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