However, with St Johnstone beating Aberdeen by a single goal at Pittodrie, United’s chances of claiming a Europa League spot next season have been firmly extinguished.
The hosts needed just eight minutes to open the scoring at Tannadice on Sunday, the goal combining route one football with some terrible goalkeeping by Kyle Letheren.
Letheren should easily have dealt with Chris Erskine’s long hoof forward from his own half, but somehow allowed Ciftci to collect the loose ball before sidefooting it into an empty net.
And after Stephen McGinn had seen his low shot saved by Radoslaw Cierzniak, United’s second goal arrived from the penalty spot after Ciftci had gone to ground easily under a challenge from Thomas Konrad.
The Dutch midfielder duly dusted himself down to grab his second goal of the afternoon in the 31st minute.
The match was effectively over five minutes into the second half when Blair Spittal ran on to John Rankin’s pass before slipping the ball beyond the advancing Letheren to make it 3-0.
Despite having greater possession and just as many shots on goal, the visitors found themselves three behind and heading for their eighth defeat in 10 derby encounters.
It was almost four on 73 when a powerful header from Ryan McGowan crashed against the bar with Letheren well beaten.
Dundee continued to create chances too, with Greg Stewart going close with a free-kick five minutes from time.
But despite enjoying another three points against their local rivals, United were ultimately left disappointed because of events that took place 65 miles up the east coast in Aberdeen.