Kilmarnock returned to the top of the Scottish Premiership as second-bottom Dundee lost for the first time in five matches.
Kirk Broadfoot’s scrappy second-half opener followed by Genseric Kusunga’s own goal put the home side in command at Rugby Park.
And Chris Burke capitalised on Andy Boyle’s mistake to set up Greg Stewart for the third.
Kenny Miller pulled one back for the visitors near the end.
That goal kept Jim McIntyre’s side ahead of St Mirren on goal difference and they play their game in hand against Aberdeen on Tuesday.
Steve Clarke’s Killie, who visit Hamilton next Saturday, will be knocked off top spot if at least one of Celtic or Rangers win on Sunday.
Killie back on song
Clarke said before kick-off he wanted to see a reaction from his players following last week’s 5-1 defeat at Celtic Park and the Ayrshire side created the vast majority of the chances.
Eamonn Brophy claimed unsuccessfully for a penalty after being crowded out just inside the box and later went close with two free-kicks while Stewart fired over and drew saves from Jack Hamilton.
But Killie did not completely boss the game with Miller contriving to fire wide of the hosts’ goal at a free-kick and Jesse Curran and Boyle denied by home goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann in quick succession.
Stephen O’Donnell came very close to scoring an own goal, diverting the ball wide after Curran had just failed to connect with a Miller cross.
When the breakthrough came, it was unspectacular but welcome for Kilmarnock. A corner from the right made it all the way to the back post and Broadfoot forced the ball over the line.
Kusunga then converted Brophy’s teasing cross before Boyle gifted Burke possession in the build-up to Stewart’s simple finish.
Miller ruthlessly fired home after Broadfoot could not cut out a cross in added time – a seventh goal in five games for the Dundee striker.
‘Dundee couldn’t live with Kilmarnock’ – analysis
BBC Scotland’s Jane Lewis at Rugby Park
Kilmarnock top again and they thoroughly deserve to be there, especially on their second-half showing.
Brophy, Stewart, and Jones were busy throughout the match, but in the second half they excelled. They provided pace, vision and precision in bucketfuls.
Kilmarnock and their front men just clicked in the second 45. They stepped up a gear and Dundee couldn’t quite live with that.
What was hugely impressive was the way they obviously shelved that defeat at Celtic. Other teams might have had a bit of a hangover from such a loss, it might have affected some players in a negative manner. But not the Killie players. They were delightful to watch at times, and exciting too.
Top for now, albeit having played more games than Celtic, but there’s a buzz around this team and rightly so.
‘We fell apart’ – manager reaction
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke: “Thirty-four points after 18 games is a really good points-per-game return and if we can continue that until the end of the season then we’ll finish with somewhere between 60 and 70 points, which would be a remarkable achievement.
“Great response to a disappointing weekend last week. I thought we were terrific second half, played some great stuff.”
Dundee manager Jim McIntyre: “We’ve got to be so much better in that second half after losing the first goal. I felt we kind of fell apart a wee bit.
“First half we were excellent. We had better chances than Kilmarnock. Against good sides you need to score and we created opportunities to score. First goal’s crucial because you could see the lift that it gave them. It was a poor, sloppy goal for us to give away.”
Source BBC News