Match ends, Dundee 0, Dundee United 2.
Dundee 0-2 Dundee United: Robbie Neilson's side win battle at Dens Park
Dundee United carved out their first away win over city rivals Dundee since 2014 to increase their lead in the Scottish Championship to six points.
A tumultuous first half had 13 fouls, five yellow cards and not a single shot on target between both sides.
But the visitors broke the deadlock after the break as Nicky Clark scored from the spot before an individual goal from Lawrence Shankland.
The result leaves Dundee in third place, three points behind Ayr United.
Finesse over brute force
Calum Butcher almost certainly didn't mean it, but the midfielder's lunging tackle and corresponding yellow card in the second minute of this contest undoubtedly set the tone for a match that rarely opted for skill or technique over sheer physicality, certainly in the early stages.
After the first 20 minutes there had been nine fouls, three shots and not a single attempt by either side on target. In a loud and passionate Dens Park, both sides lived up to the reputation of a robust and fiercely contested derby.
While Robbie Neilson's side looked more comfortable on the ball and peppered the opposing box, the best opportunity of the half came from a break by the hosts just after the 30th minute.
Midfield playmaker Graham Dorrans played the ball out left to the on-running Sean Mackie, who fired a cross towards the United box. Paul McGowan, in search of his third goal of the season, timed his leap perfectly but unfortunately the forwards header completely mishit the ball and it sailed wide of the goal.
Where the remaining 15 minutes offered plenty of time for either side to take the lead, they instead played host to even more ferocity. First, Andrew Nelson was deemed to have caught Butcher with a sliding tackle and saw yellow. Then, shortly after, a collision and some theatrics saw Cammy Kerr, Louis Appere and Jamie Robson all join Nelson in the book.
Fortunately, some football broke out in the second half. United showed their attacking intent just 10 minutes into the half when Nicky Clark marched through on goal, only for a last-ditch Dorrans tackle to block a simple finish.
The breakthrough came just moments later. After darting into the Dundee box, Liam Smith's attempts to fire the ball towards goal was cut short by a late challenge from Declan McDaid. The referee pointed to the spot and Clark comfortably tucked the ball into the bottom corner.
Any Dundee hopes of matching their city rivals were quickly extinguished when the unwavering goal-scoring form of Shankland struck just eight minutes later. After intercepting the ball from Nelson, the Scotland international then darted towards goal before jinking over an outstretched leg and firing the ball between two Dundee defenders and Conor Hazard in goal.
Despite such a fraught performance in the first half, Dundee struggled to offer any bite in front a full home support urging them on. And from a defensive, counter-attacking position the hosts looked far more likely to extend their lead.
Paul McMullan first failed to convert a narrow shot in the 70th minute and was then thwarted by a superb Hazard save 10 minutes later. And in the dying moments of the game a curling effort from Shankland curled just a few inches wide and bounced off the Dundee post.
In a derby dominated by late tackles, physical aerial duels and countless fouls it was a clumsy tackle in the box and Shankland's quality in front of goal that separated these two rivals.
Man of the match - Lawrence Shankland
BBC Scotland's Tyrone Smith at Dens Park
As the game wore on, Dundee United got better, and so did Lawrence Shankland. His quality shone through, particularly in the second half.
Shankland's goal was deserved and he could have added to that, a constant threat who was too hot for the home defence to handle.
'We have the bragging rights for a month or so' - reaction
Dundee manager James McPake: "We have to pick them up the way we did the last time. These ones hurt, of course they do. It will be a horrible weekend for everyone, it's a really sore one. We now have two weeks to the next game.
"I won't question their effort. They give me everything but you need to make the right decisions in these big moments."
Dundee United head coach Robbie Neilson: "I'm absolutely delighted for the players but most importantly for the fans. The backing was phenomenal from the start and we've got the bragging rights in the city for another month or so.
"In the first half I thought both teams were edgy and quite direct in the first half. We took our chances and they didn't tonight."
- 2KerrBooked at 43mins
- 10McGowanSubstituted forJohnsonat 64'minutes
- 9NelsonBooked at 38minsSubstituted forMcPakeat 66'minutes
- 28HemmingsBooked at 44mins
- 17RobsonBooked at 44mins
- 7McMullanSubstituted forSmithat 87'minutes
- 18ButcherBooked at 3mins
- 10ClarkSubstituted forStantonat 75'minutes
- 24ShanklandSubstituted forConnollyat 90+3'minutes
- Steven McLean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee 0, Dundee United 2.
Substitution, Dundee United. Mark Connolly replaces Lawrence Shankland.
Attempt missed. Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Danny Johnson (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Dundee United. Cameron Smith replaces Paul McMullan.
Attempt missed. Shaun Byrne (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Danny Johnson (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul Watson (Dundee United).
Foul by Graham Dorrans (Dundee).
Paul McMullan (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Paul McMullan (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.
Foul by Jordon Forster (Dundee).
Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Cammy Kerr (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Louis Appere (Dundee United).
Attempt missed. Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Attempt blocked. Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Foul by Jordan McGhee (Dundee).
Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Dundee United. Samuel Stanton replaces Nicky Clark.
Attempt missed. Declan McDaid (Dundee) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Attempt saved. Ian Harkes (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Louis Appere (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Joshua McPake (Dundee) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt missed. Paul McMullan (Dundee United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Jamie Robson.
Substitution, Dundee. Joshua McPake replaces Andrew Nelson.
Foul by Kane Hemmings (Dundee).
Mark Reynolds (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! Dundee 0, Dundee United 2. Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Dundee. Danny Johnson replaces Paul McGowan.
Attempt missed. Andrew Nelson (Dundee) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right.
Goal! Dundee 0, Dundee United 1. Nicky Clark (Dundee United) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty conceded by Declan McDaid (Dundee) after a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty Dundee United. Liam Smith draws a foul in the penalty area.
Andrew Nelson (Dundee) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Calum Butcher (Dundee United).
Corner, Dundee. Conceded by Paul Watson.
Shaun Byrne (Dundee) wins a free kick in the attacking half.