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HOPE SPRINGS PATERNAL; Dixon hopes premature celebration is enough to give his baby the big push.

Byline: GORDON PARKS

DUNFERMLINE 1

DUNDEE U 4

GORDON PARKS REPORTS FROM EAST END PARK

PREMATURE speculation seems to be the norm at Tannadice - whether it's a new arrival or a managerial departure And not surprisingly, Dundee United's week ended with someone jumping the gun.

Dad-in-waiting Paul Dixon admits his Bebeto-style celebration after grabbing the opener at Dunfermline came a bit too early.

But the 24-year-old can be forgiven on this occasion because his wife is overdue and he's just desperate to become a father.

He said: "You can congratulate me for the goal but nothing else, not yet. We've tried every trick in the book but the little one just isn't budging.

"My missus was due a few days ago, the 27th, and we've tried all the old wives' tales but he just won't budge although we know it's a boy.

"I just got caught up in the moment with the goal celebration. Maybe it will get him moving, you never know.

"It's our first child and we're expecting a wee boy. Maybe the celebration will work."

Amid the backdrop of the off-field drama - which has seen United boss Peter Houston field media questions on whether he faces the sack or not - a trip to Dunfermline was just what the doctor ordered.

And Dixon insists the emphatic win against the Fife strugglers will silence the critics as his side managed to block out the distractions of the last few days.

He said: "That's the perfect result because it should shut everybody up.

"We can now concentrate on our football and get ourselves going in the correct way, up the table.

"All week we just got on with our job and that showed on the pitch.

"We can't start thinking about whether the manager is under pressure or not.

"As a team, if we had gone into the game thinking, 'What will happen to him if we lose' then sure as anything we would have been beaten.

"But we were all professional, we did our jobs properly and scored four excellent goals."

It was Dixon who eased the pressure with a thundering 13th-minute volley from 16 yards that ripped into the far right-hand corner of the net to set the tone for waves of Tangerine attacks.

A mis-hit shot by Dixon five minutes later landed at the feet of Lauri Dalla Valle who lashed home from close range to make it two.

Minutes later the Pars had their problems compounded by the softest of red cards for Gary Mason who walked for what looked nothing more than a competitive challenge with Johnny Russell to win the ball.

Ref Stevie McIntyre thought otherwise and Dunfermline's cause became a crisis - although it served to trigger them into action.

Andy Kirk reduced the deficit 12 minutes after the break and for a while United were on the ropes but Russell eased the nerves with an emphatic close-range finish in the 75th minute.

And Gary MacKay-Steven put the seal on things six minutes from time by sliding in United's fourth goal. It's a win that brings a hault to an alarming slide down the table by United and it was enough for Houston to get the faull backing of his chairman and board when they met behind closed doors yesterday afternoon.

Dixon though needs no convincing his boss is the right man for the job. He said: "People can say what they like about our situation but three points changes a lot.

"We were excellent against St Johnstone the previous weekend but didn't get the win then went out on penalties to Falkirk.

"We were fourth last season and won the Scottish Cup a couple of seasons ago. So you can't really argue with that record.

"That's one win we got on Saturday and we've shot right up the table so nobody is going to remember the fact we could have been bottom if we had lost and other results had gone against us.

"The manager told us before the game that we had played well against St Johnstone and Falkirk despite the results.

"But, apart from being a wee bit sloppy for 15 minutes in the second half, we controlled Saturday's game.

"I don't know if there is such a thing as winning it for the manager.

"We're professionals, we go out there and do our jobs. That's what you've got to do. You are paid to work hard for 90 minutes and get results. That's the job.

"We do it for each other and do it for the whole club.

"We're all in this, Dundee United Football Club, the manager, the players, the chairmen, the fans. We're all in it together."

Pars boss Jim McIntyre, right, was seething at Mason's sending off and vowed to appeal the decision, claiming the ref couldn't wait to dismiss the midfielder.

McIntyre said: "That was never a sending off. He didn't leave the ground, he slid along and it wasn't even a foul because Gary has played the ball.

"Will we appeal the red card? Absolutely. But the ref flashed the red card as quickly as he could and that gave us a mountain to climb.

"However, I thought the players were exceptional in the second half and gave everything.

"I asked them all to go out and have a go at United because, as things stood, we were beaten anyway."

6

All the minutes Neil Gauld needed to net a hat-trick and put Inverurie Locos into the Scottish Cup third round.

20

Goals in four Scottish Cup second-round replays. Entertainment plus.

87,073

Saturday was a bumper day at the turnstiles for the SPL. Best day of the season.

12

Just a dozen points between top and bottom in the Second Division. The same amount as Rangers lead Celtic in the SPL.

6

Number of red cards in Scotland this weekend.

CAPTION(S):

BORN TO WIN Dixon celebrates, main, after lashing home his opener, top, and Russell makes it 3-1, right, following Mason's dismissal, far right
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 31, 2011
Words:1001
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