Dundee United moved nine points clear of Dundee at the top of the Championship with a 2-0 derby win at Dens Park.
Nicky Clark’s second-half penalty and Lawrence Shankland’s 19th club goal of the season did the damage for United who are now six points clear of closest challengers Ayr United in the race for promotion to the Premiership.
The Dark Blues showed one change from last week’s 2-1 win over Morton with Sean Mackie coming in for the injured Jordan Marshall at left-back.
United were unchanged with Paul Watson continuing alongside skipper Mark Reynolds in central defence after a terrific performance in their 3-0 victory in Inverness.
Mark Connolly had to make do with a place on the bench as he continues his comeback from an injury sustained in the last derby.
It was a typically-fiery start to proceedings at a bouncing Dens Park as Calum Butcher picked up the first yellow card of the match less than two minutes in.
The Englishman caught Shaun Byrne’s ankle late, leaving referee Steven McLean with no option but to produce a yellow.
After a frenetic opening 10 minutes, the game began to settle down and United had the best of the early chances.
Paul McMullan was almost clean through to score but for Cammy Kerr’s intervention, while Nicky Clark saw his free-kick from 20 yards out hit the wall.
However, it was the Dee who had the first real opportunity as Graham Dorrans’ corner was knocked into the path of Declan McDaid. His volley bounced up on the turf and sailed wide.
On 28 minutes, it was the Terrors’ turn to threaten as Lawrence Shankland came close to opening the scoring.
Twisting and turning in the box, Shankland pulled the trigger under extreme pressure from Dorrans with Dee keeper Conor Hazard forced to tip the bobbling effort away.
Up the other end a Mackie delivery from the left was inviting enough for Paul McGowan to get his head on it but the Dundee skipper’s effort trundled wide.
Andrew Nelson went into the book on 38 minutes for a heavy challenge on Liam Smith for the second caution of the evening and Dundee’s first.
Just before half-time there was a stramash in the corner by the South Enclosure with Jamie Robson pushing Kerr to the floor after he collided with Louis Appere.
Kane Hemmings shoved Robson in retaliation amidst the aftermath. Kerr, Robson and Hemmings were booked for their part in the rammy.
Two minutes into the second period Mark Reynolds got an important touch to divert Nelson’s cross away from Hemmings lurking at the back post.
Up the other end, Jordan McGhee was in the right place at the right time for the Dee to acrobatically hook away a ball headed straight for Shankland inside the six-yard box.
On 54 minutes United appealed for a penalty as Clark went down in the box under the close attention of Dorrans but referee McLean waved the claims away.
Just a minute later, however, United had the chance to take the lead from the spot as McDaid cleared out Smith in the area.
Clark stepped up and sent Hazard the wrong way from 12 yards on 56 minutes to send the visiting support wild.
Nelson blazed over for the Dark Blues on the hour mark as the home side pushed for an equaliser.
However, it was the Tangerines who doubled their lead on 64 minutes as Shankland picked up on Nelson’s poor touch in the middle of the park before driving on and slipping the ball under Hazard for his 19th United goal of the season.
On 71 minutes, McMullan sent a shot into the side netting after Smith found him in the box in plenty space as United pushed to kill the game off.
The diminutive winger came close again on 81 minutes. This time his shot from the middle of the goal after Butcher’s cutback was well-saved by Hazard.
Shankland hit the post on 89 minutes as the Tangerines looked to seal it. However, 2-0 it remained as United saw out the closing stages comfortably in a match where Dundee barely troubled them.
Dundee XI (4-2-3-1): Hazard (GK); Kerr, Mackie, Forster, McGhee; Byrne, Dorrans; McDaid, McGowan (C) (Johnson 64), Nelson (McPake 66); Hemmings.
Subs not used: Ferrie (GK), Ness, Meekings, Robertson, Moore.
Dundee United XI (4-2-3-1): Siegrist (GK); L Smith, Robson, Reynolds (C), Watson; Butcher, Harkes; McMullan (C Smith 87), Clark (Stanton 75), Appere; Shankland (Connolly (90+3).
Subs not used: Deniz, Sporle, Chalmers, King.
Ref: Steven McLean.