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John McGlynn <-auth Gordon Waddell auth-> William Collum
Stevenson Ryan [J Russell 2] ;[W Flood 62] ;[M Gardyne 89]
14 of 025 Michael Ngoo 76L SPL A

Dundee United 3 Hearts 1

Harsh red helps Arabs finally end winless home run
10 Feb 2013 00:01

Gordon Waddell

THE sending off of Ryan Stevenson helped Dundee United on their way as they finally recorded their first home league win in six months.

DUNDEE United picked up their first home win in the SPL for six months.

But they can hand ref Willie Collum one in the assist stats for his contribution.

Johnny Russell’s second-minute strike may have had the Tannadice side a goal up but a cracking match ended as a contest and a spectacle the minute the jobsworth whistler gave Ryan Stevenson a straight red in 25 minutes.

Two more goals from Willo Flood and sub Michael Gardyne either side of a Michael Ngoo strike which briefly had Hearts fluttering after the break sealed the three points.

No doubt, though, that the red for the midfielder’s tackle on Gary Mackay-Steven was the game-changer.

It’s one Hearts will look at appealing. It’s one even the victim insists was harsh.

And one they clearly believe was a make-up call by Collum for the embarrassment of missing the Edinburgh derby tackle on James McPake which saw Stevenson hit with a retrospective two-game ban.

Boss John McGlynn deadpanned his first answer: “I’ve not a got a clue what you’re thinking about.”

But he added: “You know I can’t say anything about it but I understand why you’re all thinking it. I’ll have to see it again but people who have seen the footage say it was harsh.

“According to Ryan the lad said he never touched him but the ref said he had to go by the rule book.”

Johnny Russell fired Jackie McNamara's side in front
Andrew West/SNS Group

And Mackay-Steven defended Stevenson, saying: “He caught me a little but I think it’s harsh to see a red card for that, you see tackles like that all the time.”

Last week United took 15 seconds to go ahead against Rangers – this week it took 120 seconds.

John Rankin delivered from wide left after overlapping Mackay-Steven, and despite Stuart Armstrong seething that Russell had nicked it off his toes at the edge of the six-yard box, he got over it as the striker turned and buried it for his 17th of the season.

Then Stevenson walked. It was a 50-50, and the Hearts man went to ground, studs slightly showing. It looked only a yellow but Mr By-The-Book will never give you the benefit of the doubt when there’s a clause or a subsection to be applied and off he went.

What had been end to end became a non-event – Hearts tucked in to a 4-4-1 and made United play patience on the perimeter of the game for more than half an hour before they finally found a way through.

When they did, it was a thing of beauty though. Flood’s give-and-go with Russell on the edge of the box was rewarded by a dreamy assist and he slid a classy finish into the corner.

The only down side was the yellow from Collum for daring to celebrate within a city block of the Hearts supporters.

That should have been it, but Hearts didn’t read the memo and after another terrific Ngoo 25-yarder clattered the bar, he got his reward.

Fraser Mullen’s corner wasn’t cleared and the towering striker smashed the loose ball home from 10 yards.

But they never looked like mustering another and with a minute left sub Gardyne steered home Jon Daly’s square ball from three yards out to seal the points.


GARY MACKAY-STEVEN insists he won’t ditch his trickery for anyone – despite playing every game with a target on his back.

The Dundee United winger’s wizardry saw three of Hearts’ back four booked and Ryan Stevenson sent off, all for tackles on him.

But he insisted: “I come to expect it now, it’s happening a lot but it won’t change what I do. I like to dribble and I like to commit players but obviously they don’t like that too much.

“It was a good three points for us to get today though – I still don’t know how we haven’t won here in the league since we beat Dundee in September but the place is buzzing with the new manager being here.”

Jackie McNamara couldn’t have had a better start, adding a first league win to last week’s Scottish Cup cruise over Rangers.

But he wasn’t getting carried away and admitted: “We started well but the sending off killed the game for both teams.

“But that’s us in the top six now and we’ve set ourselves a target on where we think we should finish.”

Taken from the Daily Record

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