Published: 18th October 2014

United were able to keep up their unbeaten home record on Saturday, picking up a scrappy win against a battling Partick Thistle side. By Greg Watson With little quality on show from either team - and in a game of few real opportunities - a late Nadir Ciftci penalty was enough to separate the sides after the United striker was taken out by Thistle skipper Danny Seaborne. The centre-back was then sent off by referee Steven McLean for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. United’s win means they now have four wins and a draw from their first five home games as they moved back to within a point of early pace setters Hamilton at the top of the Premiership. Thistle were unchanged from their win against Motherwell with new signing Frederic Frans among their substitutes. United made one change from the defeat at Kilmarnock, bringing Gary Mackay-Steven in for Ryan Dow. Conor Townsend made his return from injury as an unused substitute. United were first on the attack when Chris Erskine strode forward from midfield, ran from right to left, and pulled a shot just wide from the edge of the area. Kris Doolan then brought a fine save from Radoslaw Cierzniak, with a shot from just outside the box, after James Craigen had set him up. Thistle’s best chance of the first half came a little later, when Christie Elliot got on the end of Craigen’s low cross at the back-post, but he could only weakly shoot straight at Cierzniak. United went up the other end, and Mackay-Steven played in Ciftci in the left channel, who could only find the side-netting with his effort. Stuart Armstrong then played a neat one-two with Mackay-Steven, in an enterprising run from midfield and fired a good left-footed effort just wide from the edge of the box. The best chance of the half came in stoppage time, when Armstrong played Ciftci through on goal, but Scott Fox saved well with his feet to keep the game goalless at the interval. While the second period was more entertaining than the first, there were less goal scoring chances. Ciftci went on a slaloming run, but could only hit an off-balance shot low at Fox. Cierzniak had a good save down low to his left, denying a Steven Lawless effort from the edge of the area; and Elliot was unlucky to see a long-range thunderbolt from the left cannon off the top of the crossbar. The winner came after Blair Spittal flicked on Sean Dillon’s clearance, and Ciftci ran through on goal. Seaborne cynically hacked the United man down as he prepared to pull the trigger and was given his marching orders before the Turkish striker coolly sent Fox the wrong way with the penalty. Spittal almost added a second in injury time; but Conrad Balatoni cleared his effort off of the line after wonderful build-up play by fellow substitute Aidan Connolly. One goal was enough for United to hang on for three points though, and despite the lack of cohesion in their play, the Terrors can be consoled with another solid defensive display and victory at Tannadice. MAN OF THE MATCH: Sean Dillon. In a game without any real stand out performances, the skipper was solid and reliable throughout and tried to provide an option for the United midfield whenever possible. ATTENDANCE: 6736 UNITED: Cierzniak, Watson, Morris, Fojut, Dillon, Paton (Dow 64’), Rankin, Armstrong (Spittal 69’), Erskine (Connolly 80’), Mackay-Steven, Ciftci Substitutes: Szromnik, Townsend, Smith, Telfer, Spittal, Connolly, Dow PARTICK THISTLE: Fox, O’Donnell, Balatoni, Seaborne, McMillan (Carroll 80’), Osman, Bannigan, Craigen, Lawless (McDaid 88’), Doolan (Stevenson 80’), Elliot Substitutes: Gallacher, Stevenson, Frans, Carroll, Eccleston, Wilson, McDaid REFEREE: Steven McLean