Dundee United held firm in the second half to secure a 1-1 draw away to Hibernian and take a huge step towards sealing their place in the top six of the cinch Premiership.
The Tannadice side – backed by 2,000 travelling supporters – seized an early lead through Ross Graham before being pegged back right on half-time by an equaliser from Hibs debutant Harry Clarke.
The result means fourth-place United are three points clear of seventh-place Ross County with a superior goal difference going into the final round of fixtures before the split.
Sixth-place Hibs, meanwhile, will need to at least avoid defeat away to Hearts next Saturday to remain in the top six.
Easter Road boss Shaun Maloney made four changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Aberdeen a fortnight previously as Ryan Porteous, Josh Campbell, Lewis Stevenson and Drey Wright were replaced by Clarke, Paul Hanlon, Jake Doyle-Hayes and Chris Mueller.
There were three alterations to the United side that started the 2-1 win at St Mirren as Graham, Kevin McDonald and Nicky Clark came in for Calum Butcher, Miller Thomson and Scott McMann.
The visitors went ahead in the 10th minute when centre-back Graham – who scored on his Scotland Under-21s debut in midweek – nodded in from close range after Ryan Edwards had headed Tony Watt’s cross from the right back across goal.
Chances were few and far between in the first half although United threatened to double their lead in the 37th minute when Dylan Levitt darted to the bye-line and cut the ball back for Ilmari Niskanen at the back post, but the Finnish midfielder knocked his close-range effort wide.
Hibs’ first attempt came in the 40th minute when Clarke – playing his first match since signing from Ross County in January – saw a ferocious strike from the edge of the box pushed over by Benjamin Siegrist.
The debutant was not to be denied though. In first-half stoppage time, Clarke produced a brilliant touch in the box to bring down Chris Cadden’s cross and drilled a low angled shot beyond Siegrist from 12 yards out to bring the hosts level.
The goal gave Hibs a lift and they started to cause United a lot more problems after the break. They had a triple chance in the 67th minute when substitute Ewan Henderson, Elias Melkersen and Mueller all went close in the one attack. A minute later, Mueller and Cadden both saw shots from inside the box charged down in quick succession.
Hibs had a loud claim for a penalty in the 87th minute when Mueller went down under a challenge from United substitute Matthew Cudjoe, but the Easter Road attacker was booked for diving. Melkersen then blazed over when he had a great chance to win it in stoppage time, leaving his team up against it in their bid to stay in the top six.
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