Watford have certainly racked up the air miles during their pre-season campaign but, so far, it isn’t affecting their results.

After defeating SC Verl and SC Paderborn 07 in Germany last weekend the Hornets headed for Scotland to face Dundee United this afternoon.

They return to England with a 1-0 victory thanks to Troy Deeney’s second-half header. The performance wasn’t particularly exhilarating but it doesn’t have to be during pre-season.

The mantra at this stage of the campaign is simple; fitness comes first. Performances and results are largely irrelevant, although it’s always nice to send the fans home happy. Especially when they’ve made a very long trip across the border.

Watford, as they have done throughout pre-season, lined-up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Heurelho Gomes was in goal behind a back four of Allan Nyom, Sebastian Prodl, Craig Cathcart and Jose Holebas.

Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue sat in front of the defence while the trio behind lone striker Deeney consisted of Jose Manuel Jurado, Odion Ighalo and Ikechi Anya.

The opening quarter-of-an-hour was lacklustre. Both sides were sloppy in possession and several promising opportunities broke down around the penalty area.

But that changed in the 18th minute. Deeney did well to control a long pass forward and he released Anya down the right flank.

The Scottish international crossed for Jurado at the back post but he directed his shot wide from close range. The Spaniard should have done better.

A flurry of chances then went the Hornets’ way. Jurado played Anya in behind the United defence and his cutback was met by Ighalo. The Nigerian fired towards goal but straight at Luis Zwick, who saved.

From the resultant corner, the Terrors goalkeeper produced an outstanding reflex stop to deny Deeney. Ighalo then directed a half-volley harmlessly over.

The home side rarely threatened Gomes’ goal. Scott Fraser’s free-kick which comfortably cleared the crossbar was the closest United came in the opening 45 minutes.

Ighalo was the player most likely to break the deadlock for Watford and he again came close late in the half.

The Golden Boys striker evaded several changes as he made his way into the penalty area but was forced wide. He managed to release a low shot towards the near post but Zwick saved.

Flores made several changes at the interval. Off went Gomes, Nyom, Holebas, Behrami, Anya and Ighalo. Their replacements were Giedrius Arlauskis, Juan Carlos Paredes, Daniel Pudil, Ben Watson, Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra.

The substitutions seemingly revitalised the Hornets. They started the second period at a brisker pace and were rewarded with the opening goal in the 53rd minute.

Jurado was the architect. He received a pass on the left flank and delivered an excellent cross into the penalty area. Deeney had escaped the United defence and headed home from close range.

Watford quickly regained possession following the restart and Vydra teed up Abdi, who fired a low shot narrowly wide of the post. Vydra then whipped a 20-yard effort over the crossbar.

United’s first chance of the second half saw substitute John Souttar send a shot from 25 yards over Arlauskis’ crossbar. The hosts didn’t register a shot on target in the opening hour.

Watford made two substitutions midway through the half. Gabriele Angella replaced Prodl while Hoban came on for Deeney.

Vydra became the lone striker following that second change while Abdi, Jurado and Paredes were the trio of attackers behind him. Hoban moved into right back.

United then had their best spell of the contest. Charlie Telfer’s free-kick was pushed clear by Arlauskis before the Lithuanian goalkeeper produced an excellent reaction stop to palm wide a fierce strike from Chris Erskine.

Sean Murray was introduced for the final ten minutes in place of Capoue. Moments later Jurado unleashed a powerful shot towards goal that Zwick was quick to push clear.

Essaid Belkalem was brought on in the final minutes in place of Cathcart as Watford looked to see out the contest.

The hosts almost snatched an equaliser in the final moments of the game when Blair Spittal was teed up on the edge of the area but his low shot across goal went wide of the post and Watford were victorious.

The next stop on the Hornets’ mini European tour is Cardiff City on Tuesday evening. They return, finally, to Vicarage Road on Friday night to face Sevilla. No plane required for that one.

Dundee United: Zwick; Dillon, Donaldson, Durnan, Dixon; Muirhead (Souttar 59), Paton (Spittal 59), Fraser (Bilate 59), Connolly (Erskine 59); Bodul (Rankin 59), Murray (Telfer 59).

Substitutes: McCallum, Szromnik.

Watford: Gomes (Arlauskis HT); Nyom (Paredes HT), Cathcart (Belkalem 87), Prodl (Angella 65), Holebas (Pudil HT); Behrami (Watson HT), Capoue (80); Jurado, Ighalo (Vydra HT) Anya (Abdi HT), Deeney (Hoban 66).