Dundee United 4-1 Partick Thistle

A Ryan Gauld-inspired Dundee United defeated Partick Thistle, who had Conrad Balatoni and Stuart Bannigan sent off late on.

Gauld assisted all four goals, the first of which was scored by Gary Mackay-Steven within two minutes.

Aaron Muirhead equalised from the spot, but a fine Andy Robertson strike and Mackay-Steven's second restored United's ascendancy.

Brian Graham came on to net the hosts' fourth, again teed up by Gauld.

The 17-year-old may have excelled in the face of a largely lacklustre Thistle performance, but the quality of each of his goal-providing passes spoke volumes.

They allowed Scotland cap Mackay-Steven to bag a brace, released marauding Robertson to drill in an important second, and provided former Raith Rovers striker Graham with his first United goal.

Jackie McNamara's men have now made it three wins from their last four Scottish Premiership games and sit fourth in the league.

Partick Thistle, who were only a threat at the beginning of the second half, had Balatoni sent off by referee Willie Collum for a second booking when the Jags were already trailling 2-1.

Andy Robertson watches his impressive strike go into the far corner and give United a 2-1 lead

And Bannigan's even later dismissal, for a lunge on Mackay-Steven, arrived with the scoring completed.

Thistle's only clean sheet this season came in the goalless draw with United back on the opening day of the season in August, but any hopes of a repeat were dashed after 90 seconds at Tannadice.

Mackay-Steven was found all too easily and shot low past goalkeeper Scott Fox from the edge of the box.

It set the tone for a largely one-way first half, Nadir Ciftci going close with a curler and former Thistle midfielder Paul Paton narrowly missing.

Then the momentum of Muirhead clearing Mackay-Steven's lob over Fox took the Jags defender into the goal and his force snapped the rope supporting the net to bring a five-minute stoppage for a bit of DIY.

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After that breather, United administered more attacking pressure to a gaping visiting defence, with Thistle having only a tame Kris Doolan effort to claim as a shot on target.

But that pattern of play changed after the restart, Ross Forbes instrumental in bringing more of a threat down the left.

It was the former Motherwell midfielder's shot on goal that struck the hand of Souttar, prompting referee Collum to point to the spot.

Muirhead stepped up to calmly stroke the ball into the corner but United were in front again just over 10 minutes later.

Gauld's sweeping pass out to the left timed perfectly with Robertson's run and the ex-Queen's Park player whacked it into the far corner.

Balatoni walked 60 seconds before Mackay-Steven sealed the deal for the Tangerines, finishing off another splendid Gauld pass from 10 yards.

The fourth goal was emphatic, Graham slamming Gauld's precisely measured through-ball high into Fox's net.