Dundee United edged into third place in the Scottish Premiership with a comfortable home win against Hearts.

Gary Mackay-Steven set up Stuart Armstrong to slot home in the 16th-minute before Jamie Hamill converted from the spot to level.

Immediately after the break, Brian Graham's header put United back in charge.

Mackay-Steven fired in the third, then John Rankin's deflected shot with the last kick of the ball sealed the win.

The win was United's sixth at home in a row and despite a 7-0 hammering from Celtic last weekend, Hearts manager Gary Locke made only one change in his first eleven, with Calum Tapping coming in for David Smith.

United dominated the early stages with some confident passing football.

The first real chance of the match came via the boot of the highly-rated Ryan Gauld, the 17-year-old's a looping strike from 25 yards forcing Hearts keeper Jamie MacDonald to touch over the bar.

Soon after that United were ahead, when a great pass over the Hearts defence from Mackay-Steven played in Armstrong who angled the ball towards goal and watched it bundle home under pressure from Kevin McHattie.

Hearts responded well and were level within four minutes when Jamie Walker jinked into the box and was tripped by Mark Wilson. From the penalty spot Hamill calmly slotted the ball low to the left to level.

Gauld almost conjured a great chance for United, playing a pass through the Hearts defence for Souttar, but the forward-thinking defender had his chance blocked off by a combination of his own team-mate Armstrong and Hearts defender McHattie.

Just before half-time, Graham fired over the bar while at the other end Ryan Stevenson had a close-range shot blocked.

United came out for the second half with all guns blazing.

First a fierce Rankin drive from just outside the box was touched wide by MacDonald, then, from a corner Graham rose for a free header which he smashed home to retake the lead.

The Hearts players pleaded with referee Craig Thomson to award an infringement on Calum Paterson, but the goal stood.

From there United dominated as they searched for the goal to kill the game off.

But Hearts, to their credit, were obdurate and stubborn - and Paterson and Walker remained lively, although the latter was booked for diving.

As the visitors continued to press for an equaliser, they became ever more vulnerable on the break, and finally it told.

Mackay-Steven cut in from the right and curled a left foot shot past MacDonald to seal all three points, then a deflected effort from Rankin left MacDonald stranded.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Dundee United

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 16 Wilson Booked (Watson - 89' )
  • 26 Robertson (Gomis - 90' )
  • 08 Rankin
  • 02 Dillon
  • 20 Souttar Booked
  • 19 Gauld
  • 06 Paton
  • 09 Graham (Goodwillie - 86' )
  • 10 Armstrong
  • 11 Mackay-Steven

Substitutes

  • 04 Butcher
  • 07 Goodwillie
  • 12 Watson
  • 17 Erskine
  • 18 Dow
  • 25 McCallum
  • 27 Gomis

Heart of Midlothian

  • 01 MacDonald
  • 02 Hamill
  • 03 McHattie
  • 14 Walker Booked
  • 04 Wilson
  • 05 McGowan
  • 07 Stevenson (Carrick - 75' )
  • 20 Tapping Booked (King - 67' )
  • 12 Paterson
  • 08 Robinson Booked
  • 30 McGhee

Substitutes

  • 16 McKay
  • 17 Smith
  • 18 Carrick
  • 19 King
  • 21 Hamilton
  • 26 King
  • 28 Nicholson
Ref: Craig Thomson
Att: 7,808

Match Stats

Shots

18 6

On target

8 1

Corners

10 1

Fouls

8 16

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Dundee United 4, Hearts 1.

90:00 +1:36 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Dundee United 4, Hearts 1.

90:00 +1:11 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Dundee United 4, Hearts 1. John Rankin (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal.

90:00 +0:37

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

90:00 +0:19

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

89:12 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Morgaro Gomis replaces Andrew Robertson.

88:51 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Keith Watson replaces Mark Wilson.

87:53 Booking

Booking Scott Robinson (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

87:47

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

87:47

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

85:36 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. David Goodwillie replaces Brian Graham.

84:42 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Dundee United 3, Hearts 1. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner.

84:27

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

83:49

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

83:49

Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick on the right wing.

83:14

Mark Wilson (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:14

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

82:40

Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:40

Foul by Jordan McGhee (Hearts).

81:01 Booking

Booking Mark Wilson (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

81:00

Jamie Walker (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

80:54

Foul by Mark Wilson (Dundee United).

79:31

Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79:31

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Hearts).

78:35

Attempt missed. John Rankin (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

78:10

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

77:29

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Dylan McGowan.

76:18

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie Walker.

75:27

Attempt missed. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

74:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Dale Carrick replaces Ryan Stevenson.

73:40

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:40

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

73:13

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:13

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

72:01 Booking

Booking Jamie Walker (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

70:17

Attempt missed. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

66:17 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Billy King replaces Callum Tapping.

63:26

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Kevin McHattie.

62:53

Attempt missed. John Rankin (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

61:50

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Danny Wilson.

61:21

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie Hamill.

61:08

Attempt missed. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

60:21

Attempt missed. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

59:48

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:48

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Hearts).

58:37

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

58:37

Scott Robinson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

56:32

Hand ball by Mark Wilson (Dundee United).

52:00

Foul by Ryan Gauld (Dundee United).

52:00

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:20

Attempt missed. Jamie Walker (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

48:17 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Dundee United 2, Hearts 1. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Mark Wilson with a cross following a corner.

47:57

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ryan Stevenson.

47:39

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

47:25

Attempt saved. John Rankin (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

46:18

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

46:18

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

45:46

Delay in match Jamie Walker (Hearts) because of an injury.

45:00

Second Half begins Dundee United 1, Hearts 1.

45:00 +1:05 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Dundee United 1, Hearts 1.

45:00 +0:19

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Mark Wilson.

43:56

Attempt blocked. Brian Graham (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

43:13

Brian Graham (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:13

Foul by Jordan McGhee (Hearts).

41:13

Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

36:49

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:49

Foul by Callum Tapping (Hearts).

31:50

Brian Graham (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

31:50

Foul by Dylan McGowan (Hearts).

30:44

Attempt missed. Scott Robinson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

28:43

Attempt missed. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

28:04

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

28:04

Jamie Walker (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

27:04 Booking

Booking Callum Tapping (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

27:00

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

26:53

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

24:29 Booking

Booking John Souttar (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

24:26

Foul by John Souttar (Dundee United).

24:26

Jamie Walker (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:29

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:29

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

22:11

Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:11

Foul by Kevin McHattie (Hearts).

19:51 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Dundee United 1, Hearts 1. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

19:43

Penalty conceded by Mark Wilson (Dundee United) after a foul in the penalty area.

19:43

Penalty Hearts. Jamie Walker draws a foul in the penalty area.

18:25

Attempt missed. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

15:56 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Dundee United 1, Hearts 0. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gary Mackay-Steven.

14:30

Attempt missed. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

13:07

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

12:53

Attempt saved. Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

12:18

Attempt blocked. Callum Paterson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

8:25

Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

8:03

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

8:03

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

2:47

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

2:47

Foul by Jamie Hamill (Hearts).

0:39

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

0:39

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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