Double dose of Daly hurts Hibs

On-loan Wolves striker Leigh Griffiths had given Hibs hope of a
first win under new boss Pat Fenlon when he opened the scoring
after 24 minutes but United dominated the second half and scored a
deserved equaliser through Russell after 59 minutes. Daly nodded
home Paul Dixon’s cross with 76 minutes gone before slotting home
his second with only two minutes left as United moved into the top
six of the Scottish Premier League. Griffiths returned to the
Hibernian starting line-up after missing the 1-0 defeat to Aberdeen
after being given a one-match ban for making a gesture to Rangers
fans. Garry O’Connor was a notable absentee for the visitors after
picking up a toe injury in the defeat at Pittodrie, while Icelandic
midfielder Victor Palsson came in for Danny Galbraith. New signing
Eoin Doyle sat out the match as he is not eligible to make his
debut until the January 2 derby clash against Hearts. Dundee United
were unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 with Kilmarnock last
weekend with midfielder Scott Allan, who looks set to leave for
West Brom in January, handed a place on the bench. The match
started at a lively pace with Johnny Russell firing over from the
edge of the box in the opening minute before Ivan Sproule ended a
darting run at the other end with a low drive into the side-netting
three minutes later. The hosts were next to carve out an opening
after 14 minutes when left-back Paul Dixon floated an inviting ball
to the back post but Daly was unable to apply the finishing touch.
Martin Scott showed great agility to take the ball on the chest and
fire a volleyed pass across goal into the direction of his strike
partner Griffiths, but the former Dundee attacker was inches away
from connecting. However, the duo combined to great effect after 24
minutes when Griffiths raced onto Scott’s lofted pass and volleyed
the ball calmly past Dusan Pernis to open the scoring. United
almost got back on level terms after 31 minutes when John Rankin
and Daly combined to set up Russell who skipped past Paul Hanlon
before slotting the ball just past the post. The visitors almost
increased their advantage three minutes before the break but Pernis
produced a wonderful save to deny a Griffiths header. United came
out for the second half eager to get back on level terms with Gavin
Gunning testing Graham Stack from distance before Scott Robertson
was denied by a fine save after 52 minutes. And the equaliser
arrived after 59 minutes when Gary Mackay-Steven slalomed past a
couple of Hibernian defenders before finding Stuart Armstrong on
the edge of the box. He neatly played the ball into the path of
Russell, who rounded Stack before tapping the ball into the
unguarded net. Peter Houston’s men continued to dominate, with
Dixon finding Russell unmarked 20 yards out but the striker’s
left-foot volley flew wildly over the top. And United gained the
advantage with under 15 minutes left as Daly rose highest to head
home Dixon’s enticing delivery. The visitors came painfully close
to getting back on level terms in the closing stages when Hanlon
headed just past the post from a Griffiths corner, before Pernis
somehow managed to keep out a low drilled effort from substitute
Galbraith. And Daly made sure of all three points when he beat the
Hibs offside trap to race onto a Rankin header and slot the ball
home with two minutes remaining.