Dundee United, with their title aspirations already in tatters, endured yet more Tannadice torture as Queen of the South savoured sweet revenge last night.
Csaba Laszlo’s side were jeered off at the end of this five-goal thriller in which Joe Thomson was a two-goal hero for Gary Naysmith’s visitors.
Laszlo had targeted finishing second after falling 19 points behind champions-elect St Mirren just a few days earlier, but on this evidence even that looks a forlorn hope.
The Tangerines initially fell behind to Thomson’s 22nd- minute opener before Kyle Jacobs piled more misery on them with his penalty four minutes prior to the interval.
But Mark Durnan began the hosts’ comeback with his 57th-minute close-range finish and Scott McDonald made it 2-2 with a stunning 68th- minute free-kick, only for on-loan Celtic starlet Thomson to celebrate a spectacular 75th-minute winner and leave United with only one win in their last seven league matches.
United gave a debut for on-loan Celtic full-back Anthony Ralston while central defender William Edjenguele made his first start this year following a broken foot.
For Queens, there was a debut for Josh Todd following his emergency loan move from league leaders St Mirren.
The Doonhamers were bidding to make amends for their 3-1 defeat at the hands of United at Palmerston a week earlier.
Former United midfielder John Rankin was first to try his luck with a shot from distance which flew wide, then the home team threatened when Durnan’s bullet header from McMullan’s corner flashed just past Jack Leighfield’s near post.
After 15 minutes, Ralston popped up inside the Queens penalty box and collided with Jordan Marshall, but referee Gavin Duncan waved aside the hosts’ timid penalty claims.
Ralston was then booked for a foul on Todd before the visitors took the lead.
McDonald lost possession and Todd released Lyndon Dykes, whose left-foot cross for midfielder Thomson was inch-perfect and he kept his calm to side-foot his finish from eight yards.
United had fallen behind for the sixth game in a row and things got worse minutes before the break. Rankin’s hooked ball over the top should have been dealt with but Durnan was short with a passback, and he ended up pulling back Dykes. It was a clear spot-kick and up stepped Jacobs to smash high into the net.
The hosts gave themselves some hope in 57 minutes when defender Durnan bundled home from point-blank range after a rebound had come back off the post.
Queens almost restored their two-goal lead just after the hour mark, but Dykes’ raking 22-yard drive came crashing back off Mehmet’s crossbar.
United levelled when Rooney fouled Billy King and McDonald curled an unstoppable free-kick high into Leighfield’s top corner.
Queens, though, weren’t finished and Thomson pounced on a loose ball to thunder home a 25-yard strike and send the away fans wild.