A Nicky Clark poacher’s effort on the stroke of half-time saw Dundee United edge past Lowland League champions Kelty Hearts in the Betfred Cup.
The low-key affair at Tannadice saw United move level with St Johnstone and Peterhead at the top of Group C ahead of facing the Perth Saints next month.
Initially credited to summer signing Ryan Edwards, the only goal of the game came late in the first period with Clark getting the last touch.
Micky Mellon made three changes from the side that were shocked by Peterhead at the weekend with skipper Mark Reynolds, Clark and Louis Appere coming in. Out of the starting XI were Liam Smith, Paul McMullan and Cammy Smith.
Barry Ferguson’s Kelty, meanwhile, had experienced campaigners Kallum Higginbotham and Michael Tidser in midfield with former United pair Tam Scobbie and Josh Donaldson on the bench.
It was the Lowland League side who made the better start, working the ball into promising positions but without testing Deniz in the home goal.
The Tangerines were forcing things, trying long balls out to the wing-backs but eventually began to find their feet and the efforts on goal piled up.
First Peter Pawlett saw a fierce drive from eight yards brilliantly blocked before Clark saw a low effort pushed out by the keeper.
After a gift of a corner from a bizarre Higginbotham clearance, Calum Butcher rose to nod towards goal only to see his effort hacked off the line.
Eventually the goal came, seconds before the break.
And, after the slow start from the home side it had been coming. The Kelty defence had been throwing themselves in front of everything up to first half stoppage time.
It was a simple goal, though, that broke through with Edwards rising highest from a corner, heading down into the ground and finding the roof of the net via Clark’s boot.
Scoring so close to the break, United were expected to come out for the second half with a spring in their step.
However, it was a stodgy start to the second period with very little happening at either end of the park.
On 64 minutes, Butcher rose to meet a Pawlett corner but headed well over under little pressure.
Ten minutes later came the first shot on target of the half as Clark found himself in space on the edge of the area but saw his well-struck effort beaten out by the goalie.
In the last 10 minutes, the Tangerines had to defend their lead with skipper Reynolds heading out a Tidser free-kick under pressure at the far post.
The home side, though, saw out the game as referee Don Robertson put an end to a poor second half.
Dundee United: Deniz, Connolly (Powers 69), Reynolds, Pawlett (Mochrie 77), Clark, Edwards, Robson, Butcher, Bolton, Harkes, Appere (C Smith 69).
Unused subs: Alexander, McMullan, Hoti, King, Fotheringham, Neilson.
Kelty Hearts: Jamieson, Stevenson, Boyle, Reid (Scobbie 24), Hooper, Reilly, Higginbotham, Tidser, McNab (Flynn 46), Easton, Philp (Russell 61).
Unused subs: McKenzie, Bembo, Donaldson.