A Ryan Edwards header earned Dundee United a 1-0 Betfred Cup win over a stubborn Kelty Hearts side at Tannadice.
Edwards headed home from a corner in first-half stoppage-time as United got the minimum response required from their fans following their shock home defeat by Peterhead.
Kelty proved tough opponents and chances were scarce for the home side, and the visitors came close to a last-gasp equaliser.
Barry Ferguson’s side warmed up for the game with a 4-0 opening Lowland League win over Edinburgh University on Saturday but they featured seven players with Scottish top-flight experience, including former United defender Tam Scobbie.
Kelty defended well from some set-pieces and denied United any real chances from open play until 39 minutes in when Nicky Clark worked space to shoot from 22 yards after good skill. His shot was pushed away by former Hamilton and Livingston goalkeeper Darren Jamieson.
Calum Butcher had a header cleared off the line from a corner and United broke the deadlock in the fourth minute of time added on when Edwards met Peter Pawlett’s header and saw it bounce into the net.
If United thought the goal would bring the Fifers out of their shell after the interval, they were mistaken.
Kelty continued to frustrate Micky Mellon’s side and put 10 men behind the ball for most of the time, and Jamieson saved well from Clark in the 74th minute.
The visitors got men forward at a series of set-pieces around the 80-minute work but United repelled the pressure.
Kelty forced another corner in stoppage-time and Scobbie headed not far over the bar.
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