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Dundee United 2-3 Heart of Midlothian: Visitors strike late to secure win

Ellis Simms scores
Ellis Simms netted his sixth goal since joining Hearts on loan from Everton

Hearts dealt a blow to Dundee United’s European ambitions as Ellis Simms’ late goal decided an enthralling Scottish Premiership contest at Tannadice.

Dylan Levitt’s stylish effort gave fourth-placed United an early lead as they attempt to clinch a Europa Conference League place.

Scottish Cup finalists Hearts turned the game with goals from Liam Boyce and Josh Ginnelly either side of the break. And although Ryan Edwards levelled, substitute Simms lashed in the winner with seven minutes to go.

Hearts, who have already secured a Europa League play-off place, extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine.

And United remain a point above Motherwell and Ross County, who also lost this weekend, with the trip battling to claim two places in the qualifying rounds of the Conference League.

  • Reaction & as it happened

Tam Courts’ side started in the manner of a team with a prize at stake, Nicky Clark heading wide at an early corner, and the forward was involved again as United took the lead.

Clark played a one-two with Tony Watt and, although Craig Gordon saved his shot, possession was recycled for Levitt, who showed a delicate touch to evade two defenders and jab the ball into the left corner.

Hearts – who had scored nine times in three meetings with United prior to this one – responded was a shot over the bar by Aaron McEneff before the midfielder made way injured for Ben Woodburn.

Boyce was next to threaten for the visitors after latching on to Barrie McKay’s superb pass, Benjamin Siegrist making a fine save to deny him.

Two Ginnelly efforts in quick succession had to be dealt with by United defenders and a Boyce header was blocked by Ross Graham as the visitors kept the pressure on.

And their reward came when Nathaniel Atkinson’s driven cross was pushed out by Siegrist but only on to the chest of Boyce, who bundled it into the net.

Hearts continued where they left off after the break and Ginnelly smacked a shot off the outside of the right post before testing Siegrist with a low drive.

And the winger got his goal after chasing Alex Cochrane’s long ball and nipping past the onrushing goalkeeper to shoot into the empty net.

United were not done, though. Substitute Kieran Freeman drew a save from Gordon and the leveller soon came from the same right-hand side of the pitch, Edwards thundering a shot into the opposite corner from 25 yards after some deft footwork.

However, there would be no precious win for the hosts, with Simms timing his diagonal run perfectly to receive McKay’s pass and finish first time past Siegrist and claim a third win in four meetings of these sides this term.

Man of the match – Josh Ginnelly

Josh Ginnelly scores for Heart of Midlothian against Dundee United
The winger was industrious in his 72 minutes and got a deserved goal

What did we learn?

United’s saving grace this weekend has been their nearest rivals also losing, but both Motherwell and County have now played one of their post-split games against the Old Firm.

Going forward, they looked more than capable against Hearts but were caught out by direct balls at crucial times.

Hearts arrived at Tannadice with injury problems and McEneff’s early withdrawal added to the absence of Craig Halkett, John Souttar, Stephen Kingsley and Andy Halliday.

But the strength of the squad showed, with Ginnelly in particular staking his claim for a cup final place and on-loan Everton forward Simms again impressing.

What did they say?

Heart of Midlothian manager Robbie Neilson: “We didn’t start well. To Dundee United’s credit, they put us under a lot of pressure. After the first 15 minutes, we started to create chances.

“Delighted for Josh, he’s been out the team for a while. He’s been working hard. Ellis is on fine form and we just have to enjoy him as much as we can right now. If we can keep Ellis next season, great – but it’s totally outwith our control.”

What’s next?

United are at home again on Saturday against Motherwell, while Hearts host County (both 15:00 BST).

helpHow to play

Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.

Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfection
  • Dundee United
  • Heart of Midlothian

Dundee United

Starting XI

  1. Squad number1Player nameSiegrist
    Average rating

    6.49

  2. Squad number12Player nameEdwards
    Average rating

    6.41

  3. Squad number4Player nameMulgrew
    Average rating

    6.26

  4. Squad number29Player nameGraham
    Average rating

    6.25

  5. Squad number7Player nameNiskanen
    Average rating

    5.99

  6. Squad number2Player nameSmith
    Average rating

    6.43

  7. Squad number26Player nameMochrie
    Average rating

    6.10

  8. Squad number19Player nameLevitt
    Average rating

    7.16

  9. Squad number33Player nameMcMann
    Average rating

    6.20

  10. Squad number32Player nameWatt
    Average rating

    5.93

  11. Squad number10Player nameClark
    Average rating

    5.96

Substitutes

  1. Squad number3Player nameSpörle
    Average rating

    3.43

  2. Squad number9Player nameMcNulty
    Average rating

    2.77

  3. Squad number17Player nameMeekison
    Average rating

    3.62

  4. Squad number22Player nameFreeman
    Average rating

    4.42

Heart of Midlothian

Starting XI

  1. Squad number1Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    6.69

  2. Squad number15Player nameMoore
    Average rating

    6.80

  3. Squad number21Player nameSibbick
    Average rating

    6.52

  4. Squad number17Player nameCochrane
    Average rating

    6.76

  5. Squad number12Player nameAtkinson
    Average rating

    5.42

  6. Squad number8Player nameMcEneff
    Average rating

    6.29

  7. Squad number5Player nameHaring
    Average rating

    6.97

  8. Squad number11Player nameMackay-Steven
    Average rating

    6.78

  9. Squad number30Player nameGinnelly
    Average rating

    7.11

  10. Squad number10Player nameBoyce
    Average rating

    7.09

  11. Squad number18Player nameMcKay
    Average rating

    7.35

Substitutes

  1. Squad number9Player nameWoodburn
    Average rating

    6.15

  2. Squad number20Player nameSimms
    Average rating

    8.18

  • Line-ups
  • Match Stats
  • Live Text

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Siegrist
  • 12Edwards
  • 4Mulgrew
  • 29GrahamBooked at 89mins
  • 7NiskanenSubstituted forFreemanat 58′minutes
  • 2Smith
  • 26MochrieBooked at 68minsSubstituted forMeekisonat 71′minutes
  • 19Levitt
  • 33McMannSubstituted forSpörleat 87′minutes
  • 32Watt
  • 10ClarkSubstituted forMcNultyat 71′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Spörle
  • 9McNulty
  • 13Eriksson
  • 17Meekison
  • 20Neilson
  • 22Freeman
  • 46Thomson
  • 52Moore
  • 58Anim Cudjoe

Hearts

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Gordon
  • 15MooreBooked at 45mins
  • 21Sibbick
  • 17Cochrane
  • 12Atkinson
  • 8McEneffSubstituted forWoodburnat 15′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 5HaringBooked at 90mins
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 30GinnellySubstituted forSimmsat 72′minutes
  • 10BoyceBooked at 3mins
  • 18McKay

Substitutes

  • 9Woodburn
  • 13Stewart
  • 14Devlin
  • 20Simms
  • 47Rathie
  • 49Tait
Referee:
Colin Steven

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home11
Away20
Shots on Target
Home6
Away7
Corners
Home5
Away9
Fouls
Home8
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Dundee United 2, Heart of Midlothian 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, Heart of Midlothian 3.

  3. Booking

    Ben Woodburn (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ben Woodburn (Heart of Midlothian).

  5. Post update

    Adrián Spörle (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Hand ball by Tony Watt (Dundee United).

  7. Booking

    Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).

  9. Post update

    Tony Watt (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Dylan Levitt.

  11. Booking

    Ross Graham (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  12. Post update

    Nathaniel Atkinson (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ross Graham (Dundee United).

  14. Post update

    Craig Gordon (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Ross Graham (Dundee United).

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tony Watt (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Toby Sibbick.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tony Watt (Dundee United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Edwards.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Dundee United. Adrián Spörle replaces Scott McMann.

  20. Post update

    Ben Woodburn (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

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