In the end it was clinical finishing that gave this Scottish Cup triumph for Robbie Neilson’s men a much more comprehensive look. It secured consecutive victories for the Tannadice side for the first time since November and puts them in the hat for Sunday’s last 16 draw.
“I thought Montrose worked extremely hard and made it difficult for us, but 4-0 away from home in the cup is a great result for us,” said Neilson.
It took just eight minutes for the prospect of an upset to be seriously diminished. Montrose were guilty of trying to overplay in their own half and, when United won back possession, Aidan Nesbitt was able to cross for Pavol Safranko. The Slovakian’s header beat the goalkeeper and centre-back Iain Campbell’s desperate attempt to clear it from the line.
The second came from Callum Booth. The career left-back was shown inside on to his weaker right foot and surprised everyone in the ground, including himself, as he managed to send a low drive into the back of the net from 25 yards via the inside of the post.
Montrose brought on Paul Watson during the second period and the midfielder briefly injected a bit of life into the home ranks.
But United got their third with just under ten minutes remaining, Billy King scoring with his first touch having just come off the bench. The winger showed impressive composure to side-foot past Allan Fleming on the volley after being picked out by Nicky Clark.
United added their fourth in stoppage time as American debutant Ian Harkes flicked beyond the goalkeeper after Paul McMullan found him with a cut-back.