Ray McKinnon’s managerial reign at Dundee United began with a penalty shoot-out win which earned his side a bonus point following a hard-earned draw at Gayfield in the revamped Betfred League Cup.
McKinnon was made to sweat as Scott Fraser finally converted the winning spot-kick after Charlie Telfer, Coll Donaldson, Paul Dixon, and Harry Souttar all scored to leave Liam Callaghan as the fall guy for the hosts, with Cammy Bell saving his effort .
The new group phase of the competition sees drawn matches go to penalties, with a bonus point on offer for the victors.
Substitute Henri Anier had struck with just five minutes left as United seemed set to triumph, but defender Colin Hamilton forced penalties with an injury-time leveller, although he appeared to use his arm to force the ball over the line.
McKinnon’s new-look side featured summer signings Cammy Bell in goal, Lewis Toshney, Stewart Murdoch and Tope Obadeyi.
In 15 minutes, the lively home side carved a glorious chance to take the lead. Bobby Linn’s defence-splitting pass set Steven Doris clean through with only Bell to beat, but the former Kilmarnock and Rangers goalkeeper did just enough by dashing off his line to save with his feet.
But United were eager for an early breakthrough and in 20 minutes, former Kilmarnock hitman Obadeyi tried his luck by cutting inside and unleashing a low, left-foot shot which Lichties keeper Robbie Mutch did well to parry before reacting well to save at the feet of Simon Murray at the rebound.
On the half-hour, the hosts had a great chance to take the lead when ex-United youngster Ryan McCord swept a fine pass out wide to Omar Kader whose cross from the right eluded the entire visiting defence. Bryan Prunty raced towards the edge of the six-yard box but the former Celtic striker missed making contact by a matter of inches.
In 52 minutes, Dixon threaded a fine ball through to Murray who turned inside the box, but again Mutch was equal to the task.
Murray unleashed a 25-yard shot which cannoned back off the woodwork with Mutch for once beaten .
Then Anier raced into substitute Smith’s through ball and drove home a shot from 15 yards. But Hamilton’s late strike ensured more drama.