Battling Ross County retain hope of gaining revenge over Dundee United after holding the Scottish Cup holders to a draw at Tannadice.
United had eased to victory over the First Division side in last season's final but rarely threatened County during a disappointing first half.
County's Andy Barrowman squandered the first good chance after the break.
But United ended the game on top, with Scott Robertson, Paul Dixon and Morgaro Gomis going close in a rousing finish.
However, their failure to capitalise on late pressure means a fourth-round replay will be required at Victoria Park.
United badly missed striker David Goodwillie, the subject of a failed approach from Rangers but missing this game because of suspension, and could have also done with the trickery of Danny Swanson, who failed to return to midfield through illness.
County goalkeeper Michael McGovern was under pressure late on
Gary Miller joined County absentees Darren McCormack and Darren Smith after failing a late fitness test, but the visitors matched their Scottish Premier League rivals for most of the first half.
United did produce the two moments of real danger during an opening 45 minutes largely bereft of Cup-tie excitement or quality football.
Garry Kenneth rose to meet a free-kick lofted into the penalty box and it found Barry Douglas 15 yards out, but the defender headed straight at goalkeeper Michael McGovern.
Gomis found his way to the by-line and his dangerous cross was headed clear from under the crossbar by Jason Marr, the Celtic defender who has joined on loan after leaving Falkirk, with Jon Daly lurking behind.
County started the second half positively and Barrowman gathered a clever Iain Vigurs chip skilfully on his chest and his shot on the turn from 12 yards was sent wide by the hand of goalkeeper Dusan Pernis as it appeared to head for the outside of the near post.
Barrowman had the ball in the net following a corner moments later, but the referee ruled that there had been a foul by one of his colleagues which had led to Pernis's fumble before the striker's toe-poke from five yards.
Daly fired straight at McGovern from 20 yards in what proved to be about his last touch as United manager Peter Houston sent on two fresh strikers - Andis Shala and Danny Cadamarteri.
Those changes gave United some added purpose and they went close twice within seconds.
Prince Buaben set up Scott Robertson, but his fellow midfielder sliced his shot wide from 15 yards then McGovern's combination of arm and chest turned a low, 12-yard Gomis drive wide.
Full-back Paul Dixon almost broke the deadlock with an audacious 30-yard drive from the touchline that McGovern turned over the crossbar and, from the corner, the goalkeeper blocked Robertson's close-range effort.
A Gomis half volley was struck well from 14 yards but was again matched by the well-placed McGovern as time ran out on a, by now, desperate United.
Live text and stats
Saturday, 8 January 2011
17 Douglas yellow card
15 Buaben yellow card
09 Daly (Cadamarteri 58)
27 Russell (Shala 58)
11 Vigurs (Wood 89)
07 Gardyne (Scott 87)
12 Archibald Macphee,
Ref: CollumAtt: 4,041
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+3:03 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
90:00+2:28 Prince Buaben takes a shot. Save by Michael McGovern.
90:00+1:33 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Flynn by Danny Cadamarteri. Direct free kick taken by Michael McGovern.
90:00+0:16 Booking The referee shows Barry Douglas a yellow card.
88:58 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Martin Scott from the left by-line, clearance made by Garry Kenneth.
86:23 Substitution Martin Scott replaces Michael Gardyne.
78:08 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Barry Douglas from the left by-line, Scott Robertson takes a shot. Scott Boyd manages
to make a clearance.
72:26 Iain Vigurs concedes a free kick for a foul on Keith Watson. Paul Dixon takes the free kick.
69:15 Effort on goal by Danny Cadamarteri from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
68:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Brittain by Scott Robertson. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Boyd.
66:03 Morgaro Gomis takes a shot. Save made by Michael McGovern.
59:27 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Michael Gardyne, Dusan Pernis makes a save.
57:17 Substitution Danny Cadamarteri on for Jon Daly.
57:17 Substitution Johnny Russell leaves the field to be replaced by Andis Shala.
56:14 Michael Gardyne fouled by Prince Buaben, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Richard Brittain.
56:14 Booking Prince Buaben booked.
54:05 Jon Daly takes a shot. Save by Michael McGovern.
49:20 Corner taken by Iain Vigurs, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Dusan Pernis by Scott Boyd. Free kick taken by Dusan
47:14 Unfair challenge on Scott Robertson by Iain Vigurs results in a free kick. Paul Dixon takes the free kick.
46:13 Corner taken left-footed by Iain Vigurs from the left by-line, Dusan Pernis makes a save.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+0:04 The referee calls an end to the first half.
44:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Morgaro Gomis by Richard Brittain. Free kick crossed right-footed by Paul Dixon
from own half.
42:55 Corner taken left-footed by Barry Douglas, Iain Vigurs manages to make a clearance.
41:07 Garry Kenneth fouled by Andrew Barrowman, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Dixon takes the direct free kick.
37:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Brittain by Morgaro Gomis. Scott Morrison takes the indirect free kick.
Jonathan Flynn challenges Garry Kenneth unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Dixon.
36:06 Corner taken left-footed by Barry Douglas, save by Michael McGovern.
33:54 Shot by Morgaro Gomis missed to the right of the net.
33:18 Corner taken by Barry Douglas from the right by-line.
30:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Johnny Russell by Jason Marr. Prince Buaben takes the free kick.
29:00 Iain Vigurs takes a shot. Save by Dusan Pernis.
25:44 Andrew Barrowman challenges Keith Watson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Dusan Pernis takes the indirect free kick.
24:26 Corner taken by Michael Gardyne.
23:41 Prince Buaben is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Michael McGovern takes the direct free kick.
21:55 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Morgaro Gomis by Steven Craig. Paul Dixon takes the free kick.
19:41 Iain Vigurs concedes a free kick for a foul on Prince Buaben. Direct free kick taken by Barry Douglas.
18:23 Corner from right by-line taken by Barry Douglas.
16:30 Scott Morrison challenges Morgaro Gomis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Morgaro Gomis.
8:16 Morgaro Gomis gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Richard Brittain. Scott Morrison takes the direct free kick.
7:10 Foul by Andrew Barrowman on Sean Dillon, free kick awarded. Sean Dillon restarts play with the free kick.
4:39 Morgaro Gomis concedes a free kick for a foul on Richard Brittain. Direct free kick taken by Stuart Kettlewell.
0:00 The match begins.
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