Clark returns from injury as United gain ground

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Nicky CLARK came off the bench in style to become the hero for Robbie Neilson’s Championship hopefuls as his late header sunk Dunfermline and moved United to within three points of league leaders Ross County.

The 27-year-old ex-Rangers ace has been blighted by numerous set-backs since joining the Tangerines from the Pars back in the summer, and admits it’s been a culture-shock for him to be sitting kicking his heels on the sidelines.

Clark said:“It was a good feeling for me getting the goal. It has been a frustrating time for me recently with injury so it was great to come back and score the winner.

“I have missed a lot of this season and it is the first time in my career that has happened.

“I still have a wee bit to go fitness-wise. I actually only trained once with the boys this week but the gaffer put me in and I have managed to repay his faith.”

United hope this can prove to be a massive win for Neilson’s title-chasers after main rivals County and Ayr United both lost.

This time the Taysiders, who’d only drawn 1-1 with bottom-dogs Partick Thistle the previous weekend, took full advantage and goal-scorer Clark insisted they simply couldn’t afford to be so wasteful this time around.

He added: “Those two slipped up last week and we did the same.

“We knew at half-time that Ross County were losing and Ayr were drawing so we were aware it was massive for us to get the three points and luckily enough we did.First and foremost we need to go out, put the graft in and make sure we pick up three points.”

With County and Ayr both faltering in recent weeks, United have gained ground in the title race. But Clark believes the Tannadice men must find consistency by going on a golden run of form between now and the end of the season in a bid to get back to the Premiership.

He said: “Yes, I think that is important in this league.

“I think you saw St Mirren do that last season. They went on a good run and it was hard to catch them so it is down to us now to make that run happen.

“This is a hard league and everybody beats everybody else.”

Meanwhile, Pars midfielder James Vincent is convinced they can climb the table with new gaffer Stevie Crawford now at then helm following Allan Johnston’s departure.

Vincent said: “We are happy with the way we performed but just disappointed at how we lost the goal. I don’t think it reflected the overall 90 minutes and we are frustrated to not come away with at least a draw.”