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.