Goodwin warns relegation rivals that United are ‘up for the battle’

Dundee United brought the gap at the bottom back to two points with a win over Hibs.

Jim Goodwin warns relegation rivals that Dundee United are ‘up for the battle’ SNS Group

Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin warned their relegation rivals they had shown they are up for the battle with a late 2-1 win against Hibernian.

United fell five points adrift of Ross County on Saturday and looked like suffering more frustration after Mykola Kukharevych cancelled out Steven Fletcher’s early strike at Tannadice.

Hibs came close to going ahead when Kevin Nisbet hit the bar and Elie Youan missed a good chance.

But Will Fish’s rash attempt to clear ended up felling Fletcher in the box and Jamie McGrath netted in the last minute to seal a first victory in 12 cinch Premiership games for United.

Goodwin, who was taking charge of United for the fifth time, said: “After the results on Saturday it was all about the result for us. We had to go and win the game because the gap was getting too big. But we have managed to get it back to two points now.

“Hopefully that will show the teams above that this group of players are not done yet. There is still a lot of fight left in them and a lot of football to be played. We have shown we will be up for the battle.

“There was real togetherness but we are not getting carried away. We are not in there with music blaring, having a party. We are still bottom of the table with a hell of a lot of work to do.

“But, a result like this can galvanise the group and give them some much-needed confidence.”

Fletcher and Ilmari Niskanen missed great chances to double United’s lead before a misjudgement from Charlie Mulgrew allowed Hibs to level.

Goodwin said: “It shows the character in the group – it would have been very easy to feel sorry for yourselves at that moment in time and maybe just hang on for a draw but we weren’t content with that, we wanted to go for the winner.

“It was very much a game of risk and reward for us. We had to take risks because we have to go and try to win every game, it is as simple as that.”

Hibs suffered a fourth consecutive defeat which leaves them just one point ahead of Livingston in the race for a top-six place.

Manager Lee Johnson felt his side looked the likelier winners after their equaliser but paid for some inexperienced defending. Fletcher had headed home unchallenged in the eighth minute before winning the late spot-kick.

On the penalty incident involving on-loan Manchester United defender Fish, Johnson said: “It’s a ridiculous challenge to make. Ridiculous. But he knows. He actually had a chance to make amends at the other end, but I felt the big moment was Elie Youan’s opportunity.

“Elie was poor. We missed him last week, but he was poor today. It’s all right saying you’re trying, but you’ve got to produce in those key moments.

“The penalty is just a green decision that a wily old cat like Steven Fletcher is always going to take advantage of.”

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