Nicky Clark’s added-time goal averted a Scottish Cup shock for Dundee United at home to League 1 Partick Thistle.
The Scottish Premiership side had to fight back after going behind following a dominant first-half from Thistle that included Scott Tiffoney heading them in front.
Thistle had other chances to increase the lead, but two defensive errors from Mouhamed Niang was their undoing.
Lawrence Shankland equalised before Clark knocked in a last-gasp winner.
Micky Mellon’s side will find out their fourth-round opponents in Sunday’s draw.
It was Thistle who dominated from the start. Tiffoney shot past and Shea Gordon had a strong shout for a penalty when goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet raced from goal and halted his progress.
And their pressure paid off when they took advantage of dreadful defending to take the lead. Ciaran McKenna’s throw in met the head of two United defenders, who simply diverted it into the path of Tiffoney, who had an easy header in front of goal.
Headers from Calum Butcher and Adrian Sporle didn’t cause too many problems for visiting goalkeeper Kieran Wright, and Ian McCall’s side had two huge chances to double their lead before the break.
Gordon’s cut-back laid the ball on a plate for Brian Graham, but he slid his effort the wrong side of the post from the edge of the six-yard box.
Then a free-kick was allowed to drift through the United defence and Gordon was on to it, but was always stretching and couldn’t direct the ball on target.
United had been very much second best, but they leapt out of the traps after the break. Shankland cut inside Niang and had a shot blocked, then Marc McNulty’s effort on the rebound deflected over.
Then Shankland broke free to get onto McNulty’s through ball but goalkeeper Wright got a leg to it.
From Ian Harkes’ corner, McNulty’s shot on the turn was cleared on the line by Stuart Bannigan, who then blocked Mark Reynolds on the rebound. United appealed that the ball was over the line but it was inconclusive.
Once Partick had withstood the brief onslaught they began to look comfortable, but they allowed United to level far too easily.
Niang put his foot on the ball inside the box, but mis-controlled it then lost his balance, and Shankland pounced.
And Sengalese defender Niang was at fault again when he allowed Clark to push him off the ball all too easily, allowing the United man to take the ball past him and easily finish to break Thistle hearts.
What did they say?
Dundee United manager Micky Mellon: “We played at a good tempo but just needed a bit more quality. But we showed the resilience you need to win a cup tie.”
Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall: “At half-time we should have been leading two, three, maybe even four goals. And we felt we had a really good shout for a penalty, it looked like stonewall.
“At half-time we were a bit gutted because it was only 1-0 because it should have been over.”
- 17RobsonSubstituted forChalmersat 62′minutes
- 66FuchsSubstituted forClarkat 67′minutes
- 9McNultySubstituted forPawlettat 86′minutes
- 7CardleSubstituted forMurrayat 57′minutes
- 6DochertyBooked at 68mins
- 11TiffoneySubstituted forPenriceat 74′minutes
- 9GrahamSubstituted forRuddenat 81′minutes
Match ends, Dundee United 2, Partick Thistle 1.
Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, Partick Thistle 1.
Goal! Dundee United 2, Partick Thistle 1. Nicky Clark (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ross Docherty.
Foul by Logan Chalmers (Dundee United).
Ross Docherty (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Luke Bolton (Dundee United).
Zak Rudden (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Dundee United. Peter Pawlett replaces Marc McNulty because of an injury.
Foul by James Penrice (Partick Thistle).
Ian Harkes (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Partick Thistle. Zak Rudden replaces Brian Graham because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Ross Docherty (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Goal! Dundee United 1, Partick Thistle 1. Lawrence Shankland (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Partick Thistle. James Penrice replaces Scott Tiffoney because of an injury.
Ross Docherty (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.
Nicky Clark (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ross Docherty (Partick Thistle).
Substitution, Dundee United. Nicky Clark replaces Jeando Fuchs.
Attempt missed. Logan Chalmers (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.