Dundee United advanced to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup but they were made to fight all the way by Lowland League outfit University of Stirling in a 3-0 victory at Tannadice.
The students frustrated the home side for large periods of the first half but conceded right before the break with Aziz Behich producing a fine finish.
Further goals in the second half from Jamie McGrath and substitute Glenn Middleton sealed the victory but the students can take great credit for their performance against the Premiership team.
Early on, every touch by the University was greeted with wild cheers by their 1,000-strong travelling support and they were off their seats in the third minute as James Stokes played in Jason Jarvis with his shot being well saved by home keeper Mark Birighitti diving to his right.
United finally sparked into life when Dylan Levitt tried his luck from outside the box but his shot was deflected just wide of UoS keeper Ben Fry’s left-hand post.
The students were shouting for a penalty in the 18th minute as Stokes tumbled in the box under a challenge from Behich but referee Chris Graham saw no offence.
It looked like Stirling would deservedly head down the tunnel with the scores still level but their resistance was finally broken in the 45th minute.
McGrath’s cross was headed on by Steven Fletcher to Behich, who swivelled and fired high past Fry to give United the lead at half-time.
The home side doubled their advantage in the 68th minute when McGrath produced a stunning overhead kick that flew into the back of the net.
The Tangerines put the icing on the cake in the 81st minute when Middleton dinked the ball over Fry.
After the final whistle, the students went to their support to lap up a deserved standing ovation.