IF Dundee United are finally to end their exile from the Premiership they may well have to find a way to cure their Somerset Park ails.

Saturday's defeat to an Ayr United team which joined them in top spot was merely the latest in a barren series of results at the Ayrshire seaside.

Remarkably, The Arabs have netted only one goal in their last seven visits. This latest demise continued last season's double blank when they lost 2-0 and 1-0 – not forgetting a 5-0 spanking on Tayside when a certain Lawrence Shankland scored four.

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Shankland and Liam Smith jumped ship in the summer but both could play only spectator roles as their former team-mates claimed full points thanks to goals from Daniel Harvie and Alan Forrest.

It was Harvie's first ever goal for Ayr in 51 starts and capped a great week after he helped Scotland Under 21s beat Croatia 2-1 on Tuesday evening.

The full-back appeared upfield in an unusual attacking role to break clear from Smith's flailing challenge and drive the ball past Benjamin Siegrist after nine minutes.

“I don't know what I was doing up there but I just ran and saw the ball coming,” confided the 21-year-old former Aberdeen defender.

“It's my first goal since my days on loan at Dumbarton. It means it is not a bad week for me after beating Croatia.

“Everybody in the team did their jobs from Ross Doohan right through to Michael Moffat who was man of the match. We feel we can go toe to toe with anyone in this league.”

Robbie Neilson's visitors had arrived with a 100% league record but they never looked a team worthy of their lofty position. They were flat and devoid of ideas whereas Ayr were vibrant and attacked with zest at every opportunity.

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The Tannadice outfit had strong first-half penalty claims denied and almost drew level when substitute Nicky Clark headed against the post only four minutes after his introduction for Peter Pawlett.

However, their hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Smith's rash challenge on Forrest led to the inevitable penalty. Forrest collected his thoughts before sending Siegrist the wrong way.

Cammy Smith also struck woodwork as a late bid for a consolation goal ended in vain.

Afterwards Neilson sought out the match official although he stressed that refereeing decisions were not the reason for his team's limp display.

“I think Bobby Madden is a good referee but he's missed an incident in the first half that looks a clear penalty. I think he'll review the decision and be disappointed with it,” claimed the manager.

“However, our performance in that first half was nowhere near good enough so there's no point hiding behind a penalty decision that would have masked it.

“The second half was much better and if we want to win a league we need to perform for 90 minutes. The service to Lawrence wasn't good enough. You need to supply him and we didn't do that.”