Dundee United climbed up to second place in the Scottish Premiership with a battling victory against Ross County at Tannadice.

Gary Mackay-Steven completed a well-worked move to net the second half strike that separated the sides.

The visitors were pinned back for long spells, although Melvin De Leeuw came close with a low drive.

Brian Graham twice headed straight at County 'keeper Michael Fraser as United remained dominant throughout.

The win extends United's winning streak to six matches and pushes Jackie McNamara's men into second place in the league due to Inverness Caledonian Thistle playing Aberdeen in Saturday's late kick-off.

However, it also brings to an end their impressive sequence of five wins in which they have scored four goals or more, although the home fans will remain content with the club's fine run of form.

County, meanwhile, continue to languish at the foot of the table on 11 points, having not won a match since October, with Hearts 14 points further adrift at the bottom.

Inside the opening five minutes, Ryan Gauld's header from a corner was edged over the bar by Ross County's Michael Kovacevic.

Brian McLean slid in to take the ball from the feet of Gauld with the Dundee United player bearing down on goal, then Graham sent the ball over the County crossbar from barely eight yards out.

Graham Carey's glancing header edged wide of Radoslaw Cierzniak's left-hand post as Ross County pressed forward with a positive attacking spell.

Moments later, Carey almost caught out Cierzniak with a free-kick that bounced high over the 'keeper's head and struck the crossbar.

Stuart Armstrong delivered a curling ball from the wide on the right and Graham leapt above the County defence, but sent his header straight into the arms of 'keeper Fraser.

Shortly after the half-hour mark, Ross County's De Leeuw fired a low, right-footed shot from the edge of the United box that inched past Cierzniak's left-hand post.

A superb run by United's Mark Wilson down the right-hand side produced a delightful cross for Graham, who leapt above the County defence and yet again aimed a header straight into the hands of Fraser.

The second half started more sedately, although John Rankin was unlucky to see a 25-yard shot edge over the County crossbar, then Armstrong's long-range effort whistled wide of the mark.

Fraser pulled off a terrific save when Nadir Ciftci nodded a corner goalwards, the County 'keeper demonstrating cat-like reflexes to tip the ball over the bar.

It quickly became one-way traffic, with County pinned back in their own half as United sought the opener.

The goal deservedly arrived after 69 minutes when a well-worked counter-attack involving substitute David Goodwillie and Armstrong ended with Mackay-Steven slotting the ball past Fraser from close-range.

Ciftci tested his luck with a long-range effort 10 minutes from full-time, then Rankin followed suit with a similarly hopeful effort that failed to hit the target.

But Mackay-Steven's fine strike was enough for United to continue their impressive unbeaten run and keep up the pressure at the top end of Scotland's top-flight.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (5)

Dundee United

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 16 Wilson
  • 26 Robertson
  • 08 Rankin
  • 20 Souttar
  • 05 Gunning
  • 11 Mackay-Steven
  • 06 Paton
  • 09 Graham (Goodwillie - 64' )
  • 19 Gauld (Ciftci - 64' )
  • 10 Armstrong

Substitutes

  • 02 Dillon
  • 07 Goodwillie
  • 17 Erskine
  • 18 Dow
  • 21 Ciftci
  • 25 McCallum
  • 27 Gomis

Ross County

  • 20 Fraser
  • 02 Kovacevic
  • 03 Gordon
  • 19 Luckassen Booked (Ross - 81' )
  • 05 Boyd
  • 21 McLean
  • 10 Quinn (Maatsen - 81' )
  • 04 Kettlewell
  • 11 De Leeuw (Glen - 67' )
  • 08 Brittain
  • 23 Carey

Substitutes

  • 01 Brown
  • 06 Micic
  • 09 Mustafi
  • 14 Maatsen
  • 15 Glen
  • 16 Cooper
  • 17 Ross
Ref: Iain Brines
Att: 8,029

Match Stats

Shots

11 7

On target

5 1

Corners

21 3

Fouls

9 6

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Dundee United 1, Ross County 0.

90:00 +2:32 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Dundee United 1, Ross County 0.

90:00 +2:19

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

90:00 +1:53

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

90:00 +0:07

Foul by Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United).

90:00 +0:07

Ben Gordon (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

88:42

Attempt missed. Darren Maatsen (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

87:08

Attempt missed. Stuart Kettlewell (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

81:03

John Rankin (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:03

Foul by Stuart Kettlewell (Ross County).

80:36 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Darren Maatsen replaces Rocco Quinn.

80:26 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Steven Ross replaces Kevin Luckassen.

80:06

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

78:45

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

77:01

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

77:01

Kevin Luckassen (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

73:10

Foul by David Goodwillie (Dundee United).

73:10

Graham Carey (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

72:04

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

69:00 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Dundee United 1, Ross County 0. Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Stuart Armstrong.

67:44

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

67:44

Graham Carey (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

66:31 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Ross County. Gary Glen replaces Melvin De Leeuw.

66:15

Attempt missed. David Goodwillie (Dundee United) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high.

65:35

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Richard Brittain.

64:16

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Michael Fraser.

64:04

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal.

63:23 Substitution

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

63:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Nadir Ciftci replaces Ryan Gauld.

62:49

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Scott Boyd.

59:12

Foul by Paul Paton (Dundee United).

59:12

Kevin Luckassen (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

58:26

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Rocco Quinn.

57:52

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ben Gordon.

55:26

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

51:53

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

50:58

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

50:42

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Brian McLean.

50:15

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

49:06

Attempt saved. Brian McLean (Ross County) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

48:40

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

48:40

Stuart Kettlewell (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:19

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

45:00

Second Half begins Dundee United 0, Ross County 0.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Dundee United 0, Ross County 0.

44:27

Foul by Brian Graham (Dundee United).

44:27

Brian McLean (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:44

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

42:06

Attempt saved. John Souttar (Dundee United) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

41:34

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Richard Brittain.

38:54 Booking

Booking Kevin Luckassen (Ross County) is shown the yellow card.

38:45

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

38:45

Foul by Kevin Luckassen (Ross County).

36:55

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ben Gordon.

34:50

Attempt missed. Melvin De Leeuw (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

32:45

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Brian McLean.

31:54

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

31:54

Foul by Stuart Kettlewell (Ross County).

29:47

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

29:47

Foul by Kevin Luckassen (Ross County).

29:22

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

28:03

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ben Gordon.

25:40

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Scott Boyd.

24:27

Attempt missed. Richard Brittain (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

22:51

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Paul Paton.

22:39

Attempt blocked. Rocco Quinn (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

19:37

Foul by Gavin Gunning (Dundee United).

19:37

Richard Brittain (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

17:24

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

17:24

Foul by Ben Gordon (Ross County).

15:27

Attempt missed. Kevin Luckassen (Ross County) header from very close range is close, but misses to the right.

13:00

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

13:00

Foul by Mihael Kovacevic (Ross County).

10:04

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by John Rankin.

7:57

Attempt missed. Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) left footed shot from very close range is too high.

7:26

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Brian McLean.

7:00

Graham Carey (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

6:50

Foul by Gavin Gunning (Dundee United).

6:14

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Mihael Kovacevic.

2:17

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Scott Boyd.

1:52

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Rocco Quinn.

1:08

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by John Rankin.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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