Dundee United 1-0 Motherwell: United take huge step towards Europe

Dylan Levitt sweeps in Dundee United's opener in the first half
Dylan Levitt sweeps in Dundee United’s opener in the first half

Dundee United are closing in on “the ultimate objective” of securing fourth place, says head coach Thomas Courts, after a narrow Scottish Premiership victory over Motherwell at Tannadice.

Dylan Levitt’s deflected strike sealed a first win in four matches as Courts’ men took a significant step towards European football.

United are now three points clear of fifth-place Ross County and four above Motherwell with three games left.

“It’s a big result,” said Courts.

“I’m pleased to say the boys really stepped up. We’ve got a really big incentive to get points on the board and keep ourselves in that fourth position.”

Motherwell, who have just one win in 15 games since the turn of the year, were menacing on the counter-attack throughout the first half and looked the most likely side to take the lead.

Ross Tierney got in behind early on, after Liam Smith failed to deal with a routine long ball, but his strike rattled off of the post.

The visitors were again denied by the woodwork when Callum Slattery raced towards goal and the ball fell to Kaiyne Woolery, whose curling effort struck the bar.

The deadlock was broken against the run of play with the game’s first shot on target.

Tony Watt, Archie Meekison and Levitt combined well on the edge of the box with intricate and effective one-touch passing. A brilliant flick from Meekison allowed Marc McNulty to tee up Levitt, whose strike took a fortuitous deflection to loop over helpless Liam Kelly for the midfielder’s second goal in as many games.

The away side continued to threaten on the break and Connor Shields was beaten to a through ball by the onrushing Benjamin Siegrist in the second half.

Then Tierney’s attempt to chip the out-of-position Siegrist floated into the grateful goalkeeper’s hands.

Ricki Lamie and Tierney both went close late on for Motherwell but they could not find a leveller.

Man of the match – Dylan Levitt

The on-loan Manchester United youngster showed great maturity with a combative and composed midfield performance throughout, topped off with the game's only goal.
The on-loan Manchester United youngster showed great maturity with a combative and composed midfield performance throughout, topped off with the game’s only goal

What did we learn?

As it has been for a while now, the race for Europe is more of a slow meander. United’s win is massively important but was never comfortable.

Motherwell looked a good side on the counter-attack but lacked finesse in their finishing, registering only two shots on target from 12 attempts.

In contrast, United’s goal was their only real clear-cut chance and they profited from it. With Motherwell hitting the post twice prior to going behind, they will undoubtedly regret their wastefulness in front of goal.

What they said

Dundee United head coach Thomas Courts: “I think we did [deserve that]. It was really nice to see us return to a controlled style of play.

“We had three young academy graduates starting the game, Charlie Mulgrew at 37 years old playing midfield, so that’s just where we are at this stage of the season.”

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: “Yes, we should have got something out of the game. I thought the players were excellent today.

“We then started to dominate for the last half hour or 25 minutes and had some great opportunities there. It’s a disappointing result but I was so happy with the players because they were excellent.”

What’s next?

Dundee United are away to Rangers on Sunday, 8 May (15:00 BST) while Motherwell visit Ross County 24 hours earlier.

Player of the match

SmithLiam Smith

Dundee United

  1. Squad number2Player nameSmith

  2. Squad number19Player nameLevitt

  3. Squad number1Player nameSiegrist

  4. Squad number29Player nameGraham

  5. Squad number4Player nameMulgrew

  6. Squad number32Player nameWatt

  7. Squad number12Player nameEdwards

  8. Squad number17Player nameMeekison

  9. Squad number20Player nameNeilson

  10. Squad number33Player nameMcMann

  11. Squad number10Player nameClark

  12. Squad number7Player nameNiskanen

  13. Squad number3Player nameSpörle

  14. Squad number9Player nameMcNulty


  1. Squad number16Player nameSlattery

  2. Squad number26Player nameTierney

  3. Squad number1Player nameKelly

  4. Squad number7Player nameWoolery

  5. Squad number29Player nameShields

  6. Squad number5Player nameMugabi

  7. Squad number3Player nameCarroll

  8. Squad number4Player nameLamie

  9. Squad number27Player nameGoss

  10. Squad number8Player nameO’Hara

  11. Squad number14Player nameOjala

  12. Squad number20Player nameEfford

  13. Squad number22Player nameDonnelly


Dundee Utd

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Siegrist
  • 20Neilson
  • 12Edwards
  • 29Graham
  • 2SmithBooked at 88mins
  • 17Meekison
  • 4MulgrewBooked at 56mins
  • 19Levitt
  • 33McMannSubstituted forNiskanenat 74′minutes
  • 9McNultySubstituted forClarkat 80′minutes
  • 32WattSubstituted forSpörleat 89′minutesBooked at 90mins


  • 3Spörle
  • 7Niskanen
  • 10Clark
  • 13Eriksson
  • 22Freeman
  • 26Mochrie
  • 50O’Donnell
  • 53Macleod
  • 58Anim Cudjoe


Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Kelly
  • 5MugabiBooked at 76mins
  • 14OjalaSubstituted forEffordat 64′minutes
  • 4Lamie
  • 8O’Hara
  • 16SlatteryBooked at 87mins
  • 27GossBooked at 55mins
  • 3Carroll
  • 7WoolerySubstituted forDonnellyat 80′minutes
  • 26Tierney
  • 29Shields


  • 18Cornelius
  • 20Efford
  • 22Donnelly
  • 23Grimshaw
  • 32Nirennold
  • 41Connolly
  • 45Mahon

Kevin Clancy


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