Scottish Premiership
Dundee UtdDundee United1Ross CountyRoss County0

Dundee United 1-0 Ross County: Hosts hold off fight-back

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland
lmari Niskanen scores for Dundee United in the first half
Ilmari Niskanen scored for Dundee United in the first half

Dundee United stretched their unbeaten Scottish Premiership run to four games as they held off a spirited Ross County comeback at Tannadice.

Finnish midfielder Ilmari Niskanen rifled in a first-half goal to give United a deserved half-time lead.

However, Malky MacKay's strugglers improved after the break with Jordan White and Harry Clarke passing up glorious close-range opportunities.

But their failure to score leaves County second-bottom of the table.

And the Dingwall side are still searching for their first league win of the season after eight attempts.

After the match it was revealed United were looking into allegations of a comment aimed at midfielder Jeando Fuchs, with boss Tam Courts showing a 'Show Racism The Red Card' T-shirt at full-time.

Before the game, Ross County took their time appearing on the park, with Dundee United kept waiting for some time before the visitors finally emerged from the tunnel.

And they took their time to get going once the action got underway too, with Niskanen and Dylan Levitt having early opportunities for United.

But when they found their feet, United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist had to save from Clarke before Harry Paton's rebound was blocked.

Then Blair Spittal had a free-kick saved, but their good work was undone when the defence was caught napping as United took the lead.

Siegrist's goal kick landed nicely for Harkes, who knocked the ball through to Niskanen, with the Finn hammering the ball in at the near post for his first goal in tangerine.

Ross County's defending at the goal wasn't too clever and they continued to hand gifts to their hosts. Nicky Clark should have done better when he ran on to a loose ball inside the area but his shot was weak.

Jeando Fuchs and Levitt peppered the Ross County goal with shots, and at the other end Spittal sent a curling shot around the wrong side of the far post as both sides continued to attack before the break.

And County started the second half in encouraging fashion, and it was almost against the run of play that Clark should have put away a Fuchs cross.

At 1-0 the game was still alive and County were growing in confidence. On-loan Watford striker Joseph Hungbo flashed efforts past both posts and Clarke should have buried a header from close range when he was left unmarked at a corner.

Substitute Dominic Samuels found the net late on only for his effort to be ruled out for a very tight offside call.

The visitors continued to press, but couldn't find what would have been just their seventh league goal of the season.

Man of the match - Ian Harkes

Ian Harkes (right)
Ian Harkes (right) was excellent in the pocket behind the strikers for Dundee United and rarely wasted a pass

What did we learn?

After a sticky start to the season, Dundee United are on a fine run yet still very much under the radar.

But interestingly, they have scored five leagues goals and are on 14 points, while Ross County have just three points from six goals.

Ross County were often the architects of their own downfall, though, constantly gifting possession away. And that will be the frustration for boss Malky MacKay because they were worth at least a point on the balance of play.

What did they say?

Dundee United assistant manager Liam Fox: "We had to really work hard for the three points. In the second half, we probably managed the game too early and we really had to dig deep.

"But one thing for that group of players, when they get in front, they defend their box really well."

Ross County manager Malky Mackay: "Disappointing obviously to come away without anything. I thought over the piece we deserved at least a point with the amount of chances we had.

"That's something that's hard to come away with because of the amount of dominance we had. We created countless opportunities not just to equalise but to go on and win the game."

What's next?

Dundee United travel to Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday 16 October (15:00 BST), while Ross County are at home to St Mirren at the same time.

Player of the match

SiegristBenjamin Siegrist

with an average of 8.03

Dundee United

  1. Squad number1Player nameSiegrist
    Average rating

    8.03

  2. Squad number12Player nameEdwards
    Average rating

    7.70

  3. Squad number22Player nameFreeman
    Average rating

    7.62

  4. Squad number10Player nameClark
    Average rating

    7.12

  5. Squad number33Player nameMcMann
    Average rating

    7.01

  6. Squad number4Player nameMulgrew
    Average rating

    6.98

  7. Squad number66Player nameFuchs
    Average rating

    6.93

  8. Squad number23Player nameHarkes
    Average rating

    6.48

  9. Squad number19Player nameLevitt
    Average rating

    6.47

  10. Squad number8Player namePawlett
    Average rating

    6.28

  11. Squad number7Player nameNiskanen
    Average rating

    6.02

  12. Squad number27Player nameAppéré
    Average rating

    5.78

Ross County

  1. Squad number31Player nameMaynard-Brewer
    Average rating

    7.32

  2. Squad number20Player nameClarke
    Average rating

    6.64

  3. Squad number18Player nameBurroughs
    Average rating

    4.66

  4. Squad number9Player nameSamuel
    Average rating

    3.92

  5. Squad number5Player nameBaldwin
    Average rating

    3.84

  6. Squad number22Player nameTillson
    Average rating

    3.82

  7. Squad number17Player nameCharles-Cook
    Average rating

    3.82

  8. Squad number7Player nameSpittal
    Average rating

    3.70

  9. Squad number23Player nameHungbo
    Average rating

    3.58

  10. Squad number16Player nameIacovitti
    Average rating

    3.56

  11. Squad number26Player nameWhite
    Average rating

    3.47

  12. Squad number6Player namePaton
    Average rating

    3.16

  13. Squad number10Player nameSamuel
    Average rating

    3.00

  14. Squad number8Player nameCallachan
    Average rating

    2.77

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1SiegristBooked at 65mins
  • 22Freeman
  • 12Edwards
  • 4Mulgrew
  • 33McMann
  • 8PawlettBooked at 34mins
  • 66Fuchs
  • 19Levitt
  • 23Harkes
  • 7NiskanenSubstituted forAppéréat 73'minutes
  • 10Clark

Substitutes

  • 3Spörle
  • 11Chalmers
  • 14Hoti
  • 16Carson
  • 26Mochrie
  • 27Appéré
  • 28Smith

Ross County

Formation 4-3-3

  • 31Maynard-Brewer
  • 20Clarke
  • 5BaldwinBooked at 78mins
  • 16Iacovitti
  • 18Burroughs
  • 22TillsonSubstituted forSamuelat 79'minutes
  • 6Paton
  • 7Spittal
  • 17Charles-CookSubstituted forWhiteat 45'minutes
  • 9SamuelSubstituted forCallachanat 74'minutes
  • 23Hungbo

Substitutes

  • 1Laidlaw
  • 4Cancola
  • 8Callachan
  • 10Samuel
  • 11Robertson
  • 24Paton
  • 26White
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
6,548

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home13
Away13
Shots on Target
Home4
Away5
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home8
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee United 1, Ross County 0.

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Alex Iacovitti (Ross County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  4. Post update

    Jack Baldwin (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Nicky Clark (Dundee United).

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ian Harkes (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Dylan Levitt.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Ross County. Jordan White tries a through ball, but Dominic Samuel is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jack Burroughs (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  9. Post update

    Hand ball by Harrison Paton (Ross County).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Dominic Samuel replaces Jordan Tillson.

  11. Booking

    Jack Baldwin (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Nicky Clark (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Jack Baldwin (Ross County).

  14. Post update

    Jack Baldwin (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Nicky Clark (Dundee United).

  16. Post update

    Foul by Jordan White (Ross County).

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Louis Appéré (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Peter Pawlett.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Ross County. Ross Callachan replaces Alex Samuel.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Louis Appéré replaces Ilmari Niskanen.

Banner Image Reading Around the BBC - BlueFooter - Blue

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC

Around Scottish sport