Dundee United striker Scott McDonald has never been slow in voicing his opinion. Now he’s issuing title rivals St Mirren with a stern warning as the Tannadice side warmed up for Friday night’s encounter in Paisley in some style.
McDonald scored in a comprehensive home win over Livingston to ensure Csaba Laszlo’s title hopefuls are still breathing down the necks of Jack Ross’ league leaders. Paul McMullan notched a goal in each half to seal the United win.
It means the on-form Tangerines stretched their unbeaten run to seven games heading into the festive period. “It’s a good boost going into Friday at St Mirren,” McDonald said. “It’s all to play for. We’re looking to win it which would see us go top again. It’s live on television and it’s a wonderful chance for our boys to go and show what they’re capable of.”
Laszlo’s side even had the luxury of missing a second-half penalty through Billy King, but the Hungarian was left cursing a knee injury to midfield dynamo Fraser Fyvie, who was carried off just before the break.
“We are just hoping it’s not his cruciate and Fraser will have a scan next week,” Laszlo said.
David Hopkins’ Livingston side had excelled in a 2-0 win in the corresponding fixture back in October when Ray McKinnon was still in charge of the United, but here the visitors were up against an entirely different beast.
Livingston started brightly and Jackson Longridge had an early wind-assisted shot which flew narrowly past Harry Lewis’ far post, before Steven Boyd’s low effort was held by the United keeper. But the home team found their stride and took the lead midway through the first-half. Tam Scobbie’s header from a corner was only partially cleared as far as McMullan.
The winger carved out space for himself inside the box and took the visitors by surprise with a low shot which crept past Gary Maley, the Livingston keeper, before McDonald chipped in with a close-range finish in 37 minutes from Jamie Robson’s cross.
The hosts were gifted a penalty after 57 minutes as Maley raced off his line to take the feet from McDonald, but the visiting keeper redeemed himself by parrying away King’s timid penalty.
With two minutes remaining, McMullan sparked more festive cheer within the home ranks with a smart finish after King’s effort had been blocked by Maley.
“Dundee United are the best team we’ve played this season and you can see why they are favourites to go up,” reflected Hopkin afterwards.