Dundee United got the better of local rivals Dundee in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup.

Jim McAlister fired the hosts level after Brian McLean had headed United into the lead early on.

But the visitors led at the break with Gary Mackay-Steven sweeping the ball under the body of Rab Douglas at the end of a swift counter-attack.

Dundee's Davide Grassi almost put the ball in his own net but Douglas prevented the own goal.

United join Celtic, Falkirk and the winner of Kilmarnock v Hibernian in Monday's semi-final draw.

After a predictably frenetic start, United won a free-kick on the right.

However, Dundee were unhappy they had not been awarded a throw-in the build-up, suspecting Mackay-Steven had dribbled the ball out of play.

When play re-started, an inviting Barry Douglas delivery swirled in towards the six-yard box and McLean rose highest to glance the ball into the net as goalkeeper Douglas leapt from his line.

Ryan Conroy and Willo Flood

United beat Dundee for a third time this season

The visitors' lead lasted only eight minutes though with Dundee conjuring a fine equaliser.

A throw-in was headed on to John Baird, who pivoted on the ball before teeing-up McAlister to rifle past Radoslaw Cierzniak.

John Brown's side had the initiative and Nicky Riley went down in the wake of Willo Flood's challenge in the area but referee Iain Brines booked the Dundee man for simulation.

The United defence had more pressure to deal with and Baird's low shot was blocked by the foot of Cierzniak.

And then, against the run of play, Stuart Armstrong slipped the ball through for Mackay-Steven to convert on the run and the winger was booked for his celebration.

Again Dundee chased a leveller and Riley's dipping shot was beaten out by Cierzniak.

Jackie McNamara's men knew another goal would likely end the tie as a contest and Michael Gardyne tested Douglas with a low drive 10 minutes into the second half.

Grassi's downward header was punched clear by Cierzniak and the Italian almost scored at the other end with a wayward defensive header that brought out the best in Douglas.

A melee involving several players following a clash between Grassi and United's Keith Watson was the most notable incident of the closing stages, both defenders booked for their part in the fracas.

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