Robbie Neilson watched his title hopefuls sweep past Queen of the South without striker Lawrence Shankland and insisted it proves that Dundee United are not a one-man team.
United moved nine points ahead of second-placed Ayr United and 12 ahead of city rivals Dundee with this latest triumph to maintain their 100 per cent home record.
Neilson’s men chalked up their fifth straight league win and clean sheet thanks to first-half goals by Paul McMullan and Nicky Clark before Sam Stanton killed the contest early in the second half against Allan Johnston’s lacklustre visitors.
Shankland, who has scored 19 goals this season, was in Cyprus with Scotland for their Euro 2020 qualifying match.
“I think today was important for everyone,” said Neilson, the United manager. “Everyone is talking about Lawrence because he’s scored a lot of the goals.
“Obviously we rely heavily on him but today showed we’ve got other guys who can step up as well when he’s not there.
“It was just a good overall performance. Another clean sheet is good as well. Touch wood we can continue this.
“We’ve now got a two-week break which sees us go to Cappielow to play Morton next, which will be a very tough game. It’s so important we keep our focus. If we can keep winning we’ll be where we want to be come the end of the season.”
Queens beat United 4-0 at Palmerston last month so the hosts had something of a point to prove this time round.
They began brightly enough with Clark sending a free-kick just over the bar after ten minutes.
Soon after, Ian Harkes let fly from 25 yards but the American’s effort went well over the bar. But they didn’t have too much longer to wait until they made the breakthrough.
Harkes started the move by feeding Louis Appere who, in turn, set up McMullan who showed his class by guiding a low 20-yard effort into the net outwith the reach of Robby McCrorie.
It was no more than they deserved, although Connor Murray did have the ball in the net, but the Queens attacker was flagged for offside.
Then, five minutes before the interval, Sam Stanton tried his luck with a curling shot from distance which McCrorie was relieved to see drift just narrowly past.
However, Clark made no mistake only a minute before the interval. McMullan’s defence-splitting pass had set him free and the former Rangers striker remained cool to slide his finish from 12 yards into the net.
Neilson’s half-time message would surely have been to stay in the ascendancy and they increased their lead within four minutes of the restart.
Stanton pounced on some slackness within the home defence and skipped past a couple of challenges before steering his left-foot shot past McCrorie.
Stephen Dobbie, who netted twice in Queen’s victory over United in October, did have an ambitious effort saved by Benjamin Siegrist midway through the second half.
But it was United who remained in control until the end although Siegrist did pull off a save from Daniel Pybus late on.
“We knew United would start fast after the last game between us,” said Johnston. “But we’re really frustrated with the sloppiness of the goals we lost.
“When you’re playing against the best team in the league at Tannadice you have got to take your chances, but we failed to do that.
“It’s going to be tough for anyone stopping United. You would imagine Dundee to be up there but at this moment in time it looks as though it will be difficult.”