Butcher goal the difference at Tannadice
Dundee United 1 (Butcher)
Ross County 0
A tepid Ross County display at Tannadice saw the hosts come away with the in, and the gap at the top of the league cut.
Dundee United fired an early warning to County when after just 42 seconds Paul McMullan used his signature pace to get away from Marcus Fraser and get a shot on target – but it lacked power and made for an easy save for Scott Fox.
But they would take the lead seven minutes in.
Peter Pawlett put a corner into a dangerous area, where Calum Butcher was left unmarked and guided his header into the far corner.
The Staggies then won the territorial battle for the remainder of the first half, but they struggles to get shots on target, with Banjamin Siegrist in the United goal not having to make a save.
That would change immediately upon the restart, when Michael Gardyne went on a marauding run down the left wing and squared it for Ross Stewart in the box.
Stewart had time, but his shot was straight at Siegrist when he really should have levelled the scores.
For a while it looked like it would just be more of the same in the second half.
But in the 71st minute, Jamie Lindsay cut inside from the left wing and let fly from the edge of the box.
Siegrist could not hold on to it, but Gardyne's shot on the rebound was blocked.
United then had a chance to seal the game inside the last 10 minutes, when Nicky Clark was played through one-on-one with Fox.
The Staggies keeper came out quickly to close the ground though, and was able to make the crucial stop.
County could not muster up one final chance after that to get on the scoresheet themselves, and they will be disappointed with their performance against their title rivals.