Derby defeat harms Saints' Euro bid

Sun, 22 Apr 13:32:46 2012

Dundee United moved into fourth place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after a 2-0 Tayside derby victory over 10-man St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Scott Robertson scored after 32 minutes and John Rankin in second half stoppage time as United leapfrogged their hosts to move within three points of third-placed Motherwell, who meet Celtic on Sunday, meaning Champions League football is a realistic prospect at Tannadice next term.

Saints hit the post in the second minute through Cillian Sheridan, but their cause was hampered after 57 minutes when Francisco Sandaza was sent off after kicking out at Sean Dillon and the top scorer can expect a three-match ban which will hinder the Perth side's quest for European qualification.

Third place should secure a place in the Champions League qualifying stages next term - given Rangers are excluded as a result of their administration - and United are in contention after victory in the first post-split fixture, but there are bound to be twists before their trip to Motherwell on the final day of the season.

Saints can have few complaints and were second best before Sandaza was shown a straight red card by referee Euan Norris, the subject of Celtic boss Neil Lennon's fury at Hampden last week.

Steve Lomas' men may yet be left to rue their performances in Perth this term after a ninth home loss, the most outside of the SPL's bottom two.

 

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