Ladbrokes Premiership



LACKLUSTRE Killie suffered a crushing defeat against a home side managed by their former boss Mixu Paatelainen, bringing their three match unbeaten run to a disappointing end.

They are now just 11 points adrift of the basement side, who will gain great confidence following the victory.

Defeat was a real setback, following the morale-boosting win against Inverness Caley Thistle and the Scottish Cup win away to St Johnstone.

However there is a long way to go and the pressure is still on United who can't afford many more slip-ups.

While disappointed with the result manager Gary Locke is refusing to press the panic button and said: "Since the turn of the year they have done reasonably well but were second best in too many areas of the pitch. At this level you have to win your individual battles.

Dundee United were well in front because they won everything."

The home side were well up for the match and went ahead in eight minutes when Ryan Dow crossed to Simon Murray and he set up Blair Spittal to shoot low into the net.

United doubled their advantage in 32 minutes when a Spittal corner-kick was powerfully headed home by Mark Durnan. Just seven minutes later the hosts were in cruise control as Spittal raced in from the right and curled a shot past visiting goalie Jamie MacDonald.

A minute from half-time a Spittal cross was headed out to John Rankin, who volleyed home to make it 4-0.

In 78 minutes Killie's misery was complete when skipper Sean Dillon played a one-two with Murray before surging into the six-yard box and dispatching a shot beyond MacDonald and into the net.

Four minutes later striker Josh Magennis bagged a meaningless consolation goal when he headed home a Craig Slater corner-kick.

Next up for Killie is a home clash on Saturday with fellow strugglers Hamilton Accies and they will be looking for a much-improved performance.

Victory would give them a considerable boost in their bid to beat the drop.

STARMAN: Greg Kiltie 3

Jamie Hamill 2

Kallum Higginbotham .