Match ends, Dundee United 2, St. Mirren 1.
Lawrence Shankland is "Scotland's number nine" says manager Micky Mellon after the Dundee United striker scored his first Scottish Premiership goal in the win over 10-man St Mirren.
United ended a run of three defeats with Adrian Sporle adding a second, before Saints were reduced to 10 men following a rash challenge from Richard Tait, but Dylan Connolly's goal gave them a lifeline.
"I think he just does what good players do, that's what Lawrence is, and we've not had that," said Mellon.
"Anyone would miss their talisman, the man that pays the bills and scores you the goals."
While United put an end to their poor run, for St Mirren it is five games without a win, and four consecutive defeats.
It was an untidy opening 30 minutes. Both sides tried to play passing football but lacked any real fluency, though St Mirren did look the more likely to do something. Lee Erwin got himself into a good position only to knock the ball into the hands of Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist.
The game needed a moment of magic and got it when Shankland pounced on a loose header, and with his back to goal turned to volley into the top left-hand corner.
St Mirren initially responded well. Tait's point-blank header was well saved, but they could have been 2-0 down at the break had Nicky Clark shown more composure when he collected Shankland's pass on the edge of the box.
It was a different United that emerged for the second half after arguably being second best for much of the first 45 minutes. Sporle had a close-range shot saved and Clark had drilled a shot off the post, but United kept up the pressure and were rewarded with a second goal when Sporle finished from the edge of the box following two blocked efforts.
And St Mirren were then down to 10 men when Tait crashed into a challenge on Logan Chalmers near the corner flag, the follow through taking the United man out.
But they pulled themselves back into the game when Mark Reynolds failed to control a long ball and Connolly stole the ball off the United captain and fired home.
There were chances still at both ends. Ilkay Durmus passed up the chance of an equaliser with a back-post header, while Chalmers fired a left-footed shot just wide of the post for United.
Man of the match - Logan Chalmers
What did we learn?
Dundee United had conceded eight goals in their last two games, and at times they did look vulnerable.
But after a slow start the confidence began to flow through the home side and they could have won the game more comfortably after bursting out of the blocks in the second half.
St Mirren are now five games without a win and Jim Goodwin will be lamenting their lack of luck, but a lot of their downfall was their own doing. The first goal in particular was a poor headed clearance and Tait's red card with 30 minutes still to go was a major blow to their chances.
What did they say?
Dundee United manager Micky Mellon: "I think in the second half we played some unbelievable football. The one-touch football, the amount of chances that we had, I think we have to say that we deserved the win."
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: "I thought in the first half everything was going according to plan up until the corner, and Lawrence Shankland was given far too much time and space in the box. Up until the goal I felt we were the better team. The second half, for whatever reason, we became far too disjointed."
Dundee United travel to Hamilton, while St Mirren host Kilmarnock.
- 15ChalmersSubstituted forPawlettat 81'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 18ButcherBooked at 37mins
- 10ClarkSubstituted forGlassat 83'minutesBooked at 86mins
- 2TaitBooked at 60mins
- 25ErhahonSubstituted forMoriasat 85'minutes
- 10McAllisterBooked at 38minsSubstituted forDurmusat 56'minutes
- 17McGrathSubstituted forConnollyat 56'minutes
- 9ObikaSubstituted forMacPhersonat 66'minutes
- Colin Steven
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, St. Mirren 1.
Peter Pawlett (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Declan Glass (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Adrián Sporle.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Conor McCarthy.
Peter Pawlett (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sam Foley (St. Mirren).
Ian Harkes (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ilkay Durmus (St. Mirren).
Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Jamie Robson.
Offside, Dundee United. Adrián Sporle tries a through ball, but Lawrence Shankland is caught offside.
Declan Glass (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Declan Glass (Dundee United).
Conor McCarthy (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Luke Bolton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lee Erwin (St. Mirren).
Substitution, St. Mirren. Junior Morias replaces Ethan Erhahon.
Substitution, Dundee United. Declan Glass replaces Nicky Clark.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Zdenek Zlamal.
Attempt saved. Adrián Sporle (Dundee United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ian Harkes.