Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson has highlighted three stars from their 4-1 win over Partick Thistle at the weekend.

A Lawrence Shankland hat-trick and an Adrian Sporle effort secured a big win for the Tangerines. It’s a result closer to the Championship title, which is almost a formality.

Shankland got another hat-trick. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

They sit 17 points clear of second place Inverness and have won 11 of their last 12 league games. It’s rampant form that should seal a return to top-flight football.

After their most recent win, Neilson highlighted Shankland, Sporle and new signing Dillon Powers for praise: “Lawrence was speaking about two games without a goal during the week, he was pretty devastated.

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“There’s no doubting he’s a top player. Our job is to get service to him and he’ll do the rest. Sporle has found it difficult coming over from a different continent and settling in.

Sporle scored. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

“His girlfriend came over during New Year so we’ll need to try and keep her here!

“I’m delighted for him, he’s starting to learn English and starting to understand what we’re trying to do. We knew it was always going to take time. I think you can see there is quality.

“I thought Powers was excellent. He showed composure and I was surprised we managed to get him. When he played at Colorado Rapids, he was one of the best midfielders in the MLS.

Powers is an Arab. (Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

“He went to Orlando and didn’t play for a couple of seasons because he wasn’t getting a game for the manager. He’s come over to try and forge a career in Scotland and he’s going to be a big player for us.

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