sport

United revel in home comforts

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara insists making Tannadice a fortress again can be the key to his side having a successful season.

The Tangerines chalked up another impressive home win by beating Hearts 4-1 in Saturday's Scottish Premiership match which moved them into third.

United are the form team in the country right now and are making their home patch a place where teams fear coming to, having not lost there in the league since way back in August to champions Celtic.

Now McNamara believes building on their solid home foundation - after watching Brian Graham's double allied to late strikes from Gary Mackay-Steven and John Rankin - will provide them with the catalyst to kick on even further for the rest of the season.

He said: "I've said all along that we want to be strong at home. This is another very good result and we want to strive to keep that up.

"We didn't win enough games at home last season but that is changing, so all credit to the lads.

"It's never easy when teams come here but we will stick to what we're good at which is getting the ball down and playing and hopefully that will continue to serve us well.

"We maybe weren't as good against Hearts as we have been in recent weeks but the important thing is that we still found our momentum as the game wore on which brought us our rewards."

McNamara was pleased to see his side spread the goals around once more and not have to rely solely on the strikers to see teams off.

He said: "It's nice when different people in the team are contributing with goals. That can make a big difference and it's great for the confidence of the team overall.

"Brian Graham did brilliantly for both his goals and and the others took theirs really well.

"It shows we're not just dependent on the forwards and that's healthy.

"We're on a good run but we'll still take one game at a time because it's a long season."

Meanwhile, Hearts boss Gary Locke insists he won't allow his players' heads to drop after competing well for long spells only to succumb to a later sucker-punch near the end.

He said: "The boys can be pleased with their effort and commitment.

"We were in the game right until the very end when two late goals just killed us off. But the boys can know they competed well with a very in-form team like Dundee United so we have to take the positives out of that into our next game."

The Tynecastle side were crushed 7-0 by Celtic in the Scottish Cup the week before but Locke still has faith in his wafer-thin squad as they fight to stay in the top flight against all the odds.

He said: "I don't have too many options to make changes as we're short on numbers. Everyone knows that but we'll fight on and believe in what we're doing.

"They're a really hard-working bunch of players who will pick themselves up for what's to come."