DESPITE a healthy league position and decent points return in their first season back in the Scottish Premiership, there are no shortage of concerns at present for Dundee United fans.

One win in 11 games and a continued lack of goals has resulted in supporters looking over their shoulders as opposed to upwards.

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Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Hibernian at Tannadice epitomised United’s recent struggles. As has been the case so many times this season, they looked bereft of ideas in attack and the service given to Lawrence Shankland, Nicky Clark and Marc McNulty was poor at best. The latter was once again fielded out of position off the right flank, and the formers were all to often tasked with making their own chances.

They are the division’s lowest goal scorers with 20 goals in 26 games this season, having averaged just 2.6 shots on target per 90 minutes. Meaning, it is not that Shankland and co are squandering opportunities, but rather that they aren’t being provided with chances.

“Listen we’ve got three very, very good strikers. We need to get them in the box and get better service for them and get better quality into their feet or into the box, at the moment we haven’t been doing that enough,” admitted defender Mark Connolly when asked about his side’s misfiring attack.

“Hopefully we can change that and get them the service they need and once they do get that I feel they’ll score goals, like they’ve done.”

While United started the game against their Leith opponents strongly, and tested Marciano within the opening minutes through a deflected drive from Callum Butcher, Hibs would lead on 21 minutes.

Darren McGregor looked a threat from set pieces throughout and after going close with a header early on, he profited from a Jackson Irvine cutback to fire home high into the net from inside the area. Irvine had latched onto the ball after Paul McGinn saw his header saved and while McGregor’s finish was excellent, it was equally a soft concession from the hosts.

“For some reason there’s been a few goals where there it’s been free men and we’ve just switched off, but that one today was a difficult one,” continued Connolly.

“At the start of the season I thought we were very good at them {defending set pieces}, we were solid. We’re just going through that run that we just need to be stronger defensively.”

United did enjoy a spell of pressure in the second half, but their over committal in search of an equaliser led to Hibs’ game clinching goal 20 minutes from time. Irvine, after evading the challenge of Butcher, deftly picked out Martin Boyle’s curved run in between Connolly and Mark Reynolds and his fellow Australian finished calmly when through on goal to seal the points.

“He’s been brilliant since he came in,” said Boyle of recent arrival Irvine after the match. “He’s a fit lad, he’s energetic and gets around the pitch. He’s lanky and good in the air so he’s good at everything!

“He’s a great guy around the place and has contributed with two assists today.”

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The result was a welcome return to winning ways for Jack Ross’ side, who have endured somewhat of a slump since Christmas time. The three points were earned without Kevin Nisbet and Ryan Porteous however, who Ross chose to start on the bench following big money bids from England in midweek.

“The speculation is there because they deserve it, they’ve been playing well,” conceded Boyle.