Dundee United benefitted from two own goals as they hammered Tayside rivals St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Steven Anderson in the first half and Callum Davidson in the second put through their own net as the visitors built up a 2-0 lead.
However, Anderson scored at the right end to halve Saints' deficit.
But headers by Johnny Russell and Jon Daly and a tap-in by Milos Lacny gave United a handsome Scottish Premier League victory.
The gap between the two sides now sits at five points, with St Johnstone fifth and United sixth.
St Johnstone pinned their visitors back early on but struggled to test United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.
However, the Slovakian goalkeeper was a relieved man on 18 minutes when Davidson's shot fizzed past the post, the left-back having got the break of the ball in a central area.
Liam Craig was next to threaten, but Pernis was well positioned to collect the midfielder's delicate lob.
Pernis then ran off his line to make a clearance and spare the blushes of Robbie Neilson, who had been short with the passback.
Saints continued to press and Paul Dixon made a vital clearance from Chris Millar's dangerous whipped cross.
United won a free-kick following Anderson's late challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven and Gavin Gunning's drive was deflected out.
It was from another set piece that United got the opener, although the goal owed more to a goalkeeping mishap than attacking prowess.
Peter Enckelman came off his line to try to catch Dixon's free-kick but missed it and the ball cannoned off the unfortunate Anderson and trickled into the net.
The Perth side pressed for an equaliser and Lee Croft tried to round Pernis on the right-hand side of the box but let the ball get away from him and went to ground as the goalkeeper closed him down. Referee Iain Brines promptly booked Croft for simulation.
Enckelman held Scott Robertson's shot from the edge of the box shortly before half-time.
Anderson's attempt to cancel out his own goal did not have the beating of Pernis in the opening minutes of the second half.
Gunning headed Mackay-Steven's corner just over at the other end.
However, Mackay-Steven did create a goal when he burst towards the byline and centred for Johnny Russell, who missed the ball only for Davidson to put through his own net.
The pace and trickery of Mackay-Steven was proving to be a real headache for Saints and the winger set up Stuart Armstrong, whose bending shot was saved well by Enckelman.
St Johnstone finally registered when Craig's looping free-kick was turned home in the six-yard box by Anderson.
No sooner had Saints scored than they were defending again as Mackay-Steven produced an excellent bit of skill to set up John Rankin, whose shot was deflected over and, from the corner, Gunning's header clipped the crossbar on its way out.
Pernis held efforts by Craig and Dave MacKay as St Johnstone probed for an equaliser.
However, the home side's hopes of completing their comeback were dashed when Russell became the first United player to get his name on the scoresheet.
Dixon's free-kick found the striker at the back post and his header looped over Enckelman into the far corner.
Another superb delivery from Dixon set up Daly for his goal, the striker beating Enckelman with a commanding header.
And the visitors profited from another defensive mix-up in the home defence as Enckelman's clearance rebounded off MacKay into the path of Lacny and the substitute slotted into the empty net for his first United goal.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +1:56
Save made by Dusan Pernis.90:00 +1:56 Booking
Booking Paul Dixon is given a yellow card.90:00 +1:33
Corner from the right by-line taken by Liam Craig,89:55 Goal scored
Goal! - Milos Lacny - St J'stone 1 - 5 Dundee U Milos Lacny finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the area low into the middle of the goal. St Johnstone 1-5 Dundee Utd.88:49
Assist on the goal came from Paul Dixon.88:49 Goal scored
Goal! - Jon Daly - St J'stone 1 - 4 Dundee U Jon Daly finds the net with a headed goal from inside the penalty box. St Johnstone 1-4 Dundee Utd.88:43
The ball is swung over by Paul Dixon,86:35 Substitution
Substitution Gary Mackay-Steven goes off and Milos Lacny comes on.86:35
David MacKay restarts play with the free kick.86:35 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Johnny Russell for unsporting behaviour.86:29
Foul by Johnny Russell on Marcus Haber, free kick awarded.85:40
Liam Craig takes the inswinging corner, save by Dusan Pernis.84:55
Unfair challenge on Liam Craig by Robbie Neilson results in a free kick. Peter Enckelman takes the direct free kick.83:08
Paul Dixon provided the assist for the goal.83:08 Goal scored
Goal! - Johnny Russell - St J'stone 1 - 3 Dundee U Johnny Russell finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the penalty box. St Johnstone 1-3 Dundee Utd.82:32
Jody Morris challenges Gary Mackay-Steven unfairly and gives away a free kick. The ball is sent over by Paul Dixon,80:55 Substitution
Substitution Stuart Armstrong leaves the field to be replaced by Richie Ryan.80:30 Substitution
Substitution David Robertson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Chris Millar.80:18
Jon Daly produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
The ball is swung over by Chris Millar, Marcus Haber takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.77:47
Liam Craig takes a outswinging corner.76:36
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Gary Mackay-Steven from the left by-line, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David McCracken by Sean Dillon. Peter Enckelman takes the direct free kick.76:30
Centre by Johnny Russell, Steven Anderson gets a block in.74:54 Substitution
Substitution Marcus Haber on for Lee Croft.74:54
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven by David MacKay. Direct free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.74:16
Callum Davidson produces a cross, Gary Mackay-Steven manages to make a clearance.71:54
Free kick awarded for a foul by Gary Mackay-Steven on Lee Croft. Cross/shot by Liam Craig.71:06
Scott Robertson challenges Francisco Sandaza unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Liam Craig, Dusan Pernis makes a save.67:14
John Rankin takes the inswinging corner, Gavin Gunning produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.65:32
Assist on the goal came from Liam Craig.65:32 Goal scored
Goal! - Steven Anderson - St J'stone 1 - 2 Dundee U Steven Anderson fires in a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. St Johnstone 1-2 Dundee Utd.65:16
John Rankin concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Millar. Liam Craig crosses the ball,64:14
Stuart Armstrong takes a shot. Save by Peter Enckelman.60:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Callum Davidson - St J'stone 0 - 2 Dundee U Callum Davidson scores an own goal. St Johnstone 0-2 Dundee Utd.59:47
The ball is swung over by Gary Mackay-Steven.58:45
Effort on goal by Stuart Armstrong from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.57:35
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gavin Gunning by Francisco Sandaza. Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.54:37
Jody Morris concedes a free kick for a foul on Robbie Neilson. Paul Dixon crosses the ball in from the free kick. Jon Daly is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.53:09
Corner taken left-footed by Gary Mackay-Steven, Headed effort from inside the area by Gavin Gunning misses to the right of the target.51:46 Booking
Booking Chris Millar receives a yellow card.51:33
Chris Millar challenges Johnny Russell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Sean Dillon takes the free kick.49:25
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven by Chris Millar. Sean Dillon restarts play with the free kick, Gavin Gunning produces a header from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.47:31
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Gary Mackay-Steven, Scott Robertson produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.46:06
Liam Craig takes the inswinging corner, Steven Anderson takes a shot. Save made by Dusan Pernis.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:00 +1:10 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.45:00 +0:17
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven by Chris Millar. Direct free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.44:42
Stuart Armstrong takes a shot. Peter Enckelman makes a save.43:51
The ball is swung over by Jody Morris, Shot from inside the area by Francisco Sandaza clears the bar.43:08
Foul by Jon Daly on David MacKay, free kick awarded. Peter Enckelman takes the free kick.42:22 Booking
Booking Lee Croft receives a caution.40:56
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jody Morris by John Rankin. Liam Craig restarts play with the free kick.40:39
Stuart Armstrong produces a cross, save by Peter Enckelman.39:45
Free kick awarded for a foul by Cillian Sheridan on Dusan Pernis. Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.38:14 Substitution
Substitution Sean Dillon is brought on as a substitute for Garry Kenneth.38:14
Jon Daly produces a cross, clearance by David McCracken. Corner taken by Lee Croft.34:25 Goal scored
Goal! - Steven Anderson - St J'stone 0 - 1 Dundee U Steven Anderson puts the ball into his own goal from 12 yards. St Johnstone 0-1 Dundee Utd.33:39
Jon Daly fouled by David McCracken, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Paul Dixon.29:59
Jon Daly concedes a free kick for a foul on Peter Enckelman. Free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.29:12
Inswinging corner taken by Gary Mackay-Steven.28:10
Steven Anderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Mackay-Steven. Gavin Gunning takes the free kick, Jody Morris produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.26:06
Centre by Stuart Armstrong. Gary Mackay-Steven takes the outswinging corner, Unfair challenge on Steven Anderson by Gavin Gunning results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.22:13
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by David McCracken.21:24
Scott Robertson handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Callum Davidson restarts play with the free kick.18:28
The ball is crossed by Chris Millar. The ball is crossed by Lee Croft, outswinging corner taken right-footed by Liam Craig, Dusan Pernis makes a save. Save made by Dusan Pernis. The assistant referee signals for offside against Cillian Sheridan. Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.17:25
Shot from 35 yards by Callum Davidson missed to the left of the target.12:58
Jon Daly fouled by Steven Anderson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Robbie Neilson.11:20
The official flags Liam Craig offside. Garry Kenneth delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from own half.9:55
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francisco Sandaza by Scott Robertson. Liam Craig crosses the ball in from the free kick.9:27
The assistant referee flags for offside against Jon Daly. Free kick taken by Peter Enckelman.5:15
Gavin Gunning gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francisco Sandaza. Liam Craig crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel.3:55
Effort on goal by Chris Millar from just outside the area goes harmlessly over the target.3:10
Foul by John Rankin on Chris Millar, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Liam Craig, clearance made by Paul Dixon.1:01
Corner taken right-footed by Lee Croft to the near post, clearance made by Robbie Neilson.0:00
The match gets underway.
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