STEPHEN Glass, the Aberdeen manager, dismissed any notion he was questioning Bobby Madden’s integrity, before promising to stand by Funjo Oso.

Glass spoke out at the end of this explosive encounter on Tayside which saw him sent-off by referee Madden in the tunnel at half-time after Oso had also been controversially dismissed for an altercation with an enraged Dundee United fan.

The 29-year-old midfielder had clearly been pushed in the chest by a United supporter on the stroke of half-time when his sheer momentum had carried him into the crowd behind Benjamin Siegrist’s goal.

It rounded off a fiery few minutes which moments earlier had saw experienced United midfielder Calum Butcher shown a straight red-card for raising his hand at Dons striker Christian Ramirez.

And Glass, who was forced to endure the pain of watching Ian Harkes steer home an 80th minute winner for the Tangerines, flatly denied that he was calling into account Madden’s integrity.

Glass said: “Funso gets pushed and goes back to the incident.

“I think the referee could protect the player rather than brandish a second yellow-card.

“Funso is a competitor and a fighter. I have challenged a couple of his (Madden’s) decisions, but not this particular incident.

“The one I’m concerned about was when Pawlett hit Jack McKenzie in the head.

“I’ve seen the same referee red-card a Livingston player for touching an opposition player.

“So that’s all I was asking the referee about and I’m not questioning Bobby Madden’s integrity in any shape or form.

“I haven’t spoken to Funso personally but he looks disappointed and let us down a little bit. It was a bit of indiscipline.

“But it’s difficult to walk away from the situation. I’ll support the player regardless though.

“I’m sure Dundee United will deal with the situation themselves. The biggest concern for me is the goal we conceded – if you don’t defend set-pieces then you’re likely to lose.”

Aberdeen’s inability to shut out the hosts enabled Tam Courts’ United to move level with third-top Hearts on goal difference.

But despite this Tayside fixture erupting just minutes before the interval, the truth is it took some time to catch fire.

It was a slow start. Dylan McGeouch had the first effort on goal in nine minutes as he unleashed a shot from outside the box which was saved in the top left-hand corner by Benjamin Siegrist.

The Dons threatened again in 14 minutes. This time Ramirez tried his luck from the edge of the box but couldn’t get his effort on target.

It took until almost the half-hour mark for Kieran Freeman to register United’s first real effort on goal. Assisted by Ilmari Niskanen, the youngster shot wide of Joe Lewis’ goal.

But all hell broke loose four minutes from half-time.

Butcher should have known better when a mini fracas broke out and he stupidly lashed out at Ramirez

In full view of Madden who sent him packing for violent conduct.

Then, three minutes later, Oso joined him for an early bath having earlier been booked.

The Dons ace couldn’t stop himself from ending up in the crowd where he was clear shoved in the chest but Madden sent him packing for his part in the clash.

With both teams reduced to ten men, there was more space in which to play so things began to open up at either end.

In 68 minutes, Dons substitute Teddy Jenks had only been on the park a few minutes when he caught a glimpse of goal, only to see his well-drilled shot parried away by Siegrist.

But United’s perseverance at the other end paid off ten minutes from time.

Scott McMann’s cross following a corner evaded a ruck of players before falling to Harkes who struck from 14-yards with the outside of his right boot to leave Lewis helpless and spark raptures among the home support.

United manager Courts insisted he hadn’t reprimanded Calum Butcher and instead hailed his players for triumphing in this stormy Tannadice affair.

Courts said: “I didn’t actually see it at the time.

“I saw Ryan Edwards and their striker coming together but when the referee handed out the red-card I tend not to dwell on these situations just because the decision has been made.

“I haven’t spoken to Calum or looked back at the incident.

“It was just a major frustration as I knew that it weakend us and gave us an uphill task at that point.

“I don’t know if they ( the players) bailed Calum out. Football is football and things happen.

“They obviously went down to ten men as well. A 10 v 10 game is a bit strange from a tactical perspective but I’m just pleased for the players and the fans.

“This is a group of players who are together and trust each other. They got the job done today.”