Boxing - Saints draw on Boxing Day shock

St Johnstone striker Nigel Hasselbaink will take heart from Dundee United's surprise 4-1 defeat at St Mirren ahead of Sunday's visit of the Tannadice outfit in the Scottish Premiership.

Jackie McNamara's free-scoring young side lost for the first time in seven league games in Paisley on Thursday, a result which raised eyebrows all over the country even though the Taysiders played with 10 men for the last 20 minutes or so after Keith Watson's red card.

The Perth side's narrow 1-0 defeat at home to Celtic the same day left them without a league win in four games but by way of consolation, the 23-year-old Dutchman took note of the remarkable reverse suffered by United as he looked forward to the weekend.

"Dundee United were on a good run," he said.

"Normally they score four goals (rather than concede them) so hopefully they can stay in a dip.

"If it can happen against St Mirren, why can't it happen on Sunday?

"United play good football. I like their style of play and you have to give the young boys credit. They love to go forward and they can score goals easily.

"They scored a lot of goals in the previous six games but they lost against St Mirren so hopefully we can beat them as well.

"It is a home game for us and we need to start winning games.

"We also have players in this team who can score goals so it should be a good game."

Hasselbaink insists the St Johnstone players can take further encouragement from their display against the Hoops, where an early solo goal from Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk was enough to seal the points for the visitors and extend their unbeaten run in the league to 17 games.

The former Hamilton and St Mirren player said: "Loads of good things happened for us in that game.

"Maybe the goal we gave away was too cheap but we gave Celtic a good game.

"I don't want to say we deserved to win but I think we could have got a draw.

"You have to give Celtic credit, they are still unbeaten. But we worked hard as a team, we had lots of the ball, everyone was feeling comfortable and confident and we were in the game until the end.

"If we play like that we will give Dundee United a good game."