Daly rises to occasion to break Hearts

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The Independent Football

Dundee United defeated Hearts 1-0 at Tynecastle in the Scottish Premier League yesterday in an absorbing contest that was settled when Jon Daly nodded in Willo Flood's 38th-minute corner.

In a cracking match between the teams who finished third and fourth in the SPL last season, John Rankin had earlier hit the bar with a free-kick for United, while Hearts had a number of opportunities themselves, with Stephen Elliott prodding wide after a neat turn soon after the hosts had gone behind.

David Templeton was denied by goalkeeper Dusan Pernis in the second half as United showed they are more than a one-man team and there will be life after David Goodwillie, who is set for a move to Blackburn Rovers.

Hearts perhaps paid the price for their Europa League qualifying excursion to Hungary in midweek, where they drew 1-1 with Paks, with manager Jim Jefferies opting only for a solitary enforced change.

In the 37th minute, the Hearts goalkeeper Marian Kello was at full stretch to deny Daly as the United captain met Paul Dixon's left-wing cross with a first-time volley, but from the subsequent corner the Hearts goalkeeper was beaten. Flood's set-piece found Daly unmarked eight yards out and the striker headed United in front.

In the second half, Hearts kept the pressure on, but struggled to create chances as the United defence stood firm allowing the visitors to celebrate victory.

On Saturday, Rangers won 2-0 at St Johnstone to go joint top of the table.