United claim top spot after victory in the Dundee derby


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The Independent Football

Dundee United laid down their credentials as the new challengers to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League with a comprehensive 3-0 win over neighbours Dundee yesterday.

Johnny Russell scored twice in quick succession before half-time after Gavin Gunning's header had given the hosts the lead inside 15 minutes.

The club's first derby victory in seven years leaves Peter Houston's side top of the table, while Dundee sit bottom and still await their first goals and victory of the season.

United took the lead after Willo Flood's free-kick was misjudged by Rab Douglas in the Dundee goal allowing Gunning to head in at the back post. Russell's first came soon after, John Rankin played him through for a shot which deflected into the net off Davide Grassi. Moments later, Russell doubled his tally, cutting in from the right and unleashing a powerful left-foot drive.

The game ended on a sour note for Russell, however, as he was sent off for an altercation with Stephen O'Donnell in the second half.

Neil Lennon, the Celtic manager, remained in a positive mood despite his side requiring an injury-time equaliser from Kris Commons to rescue a point at Ross County on Saturday, "I'm delighted, we showed great character," said Lennon after the 1-1 draw.

In the Third Division, Rangers' manager, Ally McCoist, paid tribute to the 49,118 fans who turned out to watch Rangers beat East Stirling 5-1 at Ibrox on Saturday, "It was unbelievable," he said. "It's a statement and really encouraging." The crowd was bigger than the combined total who attended the weekend's six SPL matches.