Ilmari Niskanen made his long-awaited Dundee United debut but the Finnish star couldn’t find the killer touch at St Mirren.
Niskanen started after he was granted a work permit on Friday and he looked quick, mobile and creative.
Scott McMann also made his debut after his transfer deadline day move from Hamilton.
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) September 11, 2021
There was also a surprise place on the bench for Louis Appere – who hadn’t started a game since the 0-0 draw at St Mirren in May.
Niskanen spurns early chance for United
🗣 "It was an easy decision to come to Dundee United. The club said they really wanted me and as a player, you always want to feel that."
📺 Hear from our latest arrival Ilmari Niskanen for the first time in an exclusive free-to-view interview.#UnitedTogether
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) September 10, 2021
Tam Courts set his side up to attack with Marc McNulty the focal point for the attack, with Niskanen and Peter Pawlett on either side of him.
And it was Niskanen who almost got his United career off to a flier after Pawlett found him in space on the corner of the box.
But, on this occasion, the Finnish international lacked composure as he fired high and wide.
St Mirren had a lot of first half possession without threatening Trevor Carson’s goal and Jak Alnwick was definitely the busier of the keepers.
Alnwick produced a brave block to deny Ian Harkes in 26 minutes. St Mirren captain Joe Shaughnessy completed the clearance.
As the clock ticked down on the first period, United looked increasingly threatening.
And they should have taken the lead through Pawlett.
Pawlett linked up well with McNulty on the edge of the box, only to blast over with the goal at his mercy.
Smith injured but Appere returns
There was a further blow for United as Liam Smith was forced off injured before half-time.
Smith must be a real doubt for next weekend’s Dundee derby.
But while Smith’s potential loss for that game could be a major headache, United could be bolstered by the return of Appere.
— Ewan Smith (@ewansmithpr) September 11, 2021
Appere came on for Pawlett after 60 minutes and almost made an instant impact as he raced onto a McNulty pass only for his 15 yard effort to be blocked by Alnwick.
Appere looked lively – as did Niskanen – and United fans could be in for a treat this season with that dynamic duo.
McNulty also looks incredibly mobile but he needs to be more clinical in front of goal.
The on-loan Reading star had a golden chance to win it for United in 70 minutes as he broke clear – only to shoot wide.
United will be hoping McNulty finds his shooting boots for next Sunday’s visit of Dundee to Tannadice.
And they have Trevor Carson to thank for earning them a point after a stunning late save from Richard Tait.
St Mirren v Dundee United Teams
St Mirren: Alnwick; Tanser, Shaughnessy, McCarthy, McGrath, Brophy, Main, Reid (Flynn 73), Fraser, Ronan (McAllister 66) , Millar (Tait 66). Subs: Lyness; Finlayson, Dennis, Erwin.
Dundee United: Carson; Smith (Levitt 43), Mulgrew, Edwards, McMann, Harkes, Butcher, Niskanen, Fuchs, McNulty, Pawlett (Appere 60). Subs: Newman; Sporle, Connolly, Reynolds, Clark.
Referee – Colin Steven