By Derek Clark
A stunning free-kick from Blair Spittal eleven minutes from time spared United’s blushes in a well contested cup tie.
His curling effort from the edge of the area found the top corner giving teenage keeper Rohan Ferguson, making his first start for the club, no chance.
It sparked a mini pitch invasion from a section of the United support with one fan even spotted doing press-ups before being ushered back into the stand.
Airdrie started the brighter of the two and almost took the lead after two minutes when Bryan Prunty’s looping header was tipped over the bar by Arabs keeper Eiji Kawashima.
United grew into the game and came within inches of taking the lead midway through the first half when Paul Dixon’s curling effort rattled the crossbar and Spittal’s follow up was well saved by Ferguson.
The Diamonds worked tirelessly but just couldn’t test the Tangerines back line in the second period.
United boss Mixu Paatelainen was pleased to avoid a cup upset.
“I’m delighted, it was a very professional performance from us, our attitude was spot on.
“We always knew Airdrie would test us but I thought we handled them well.”
Airdrie manager Eddie Wolecki Black was devastated and said afterwards.
“Disappointed probably couldn’t cover it, I’m more disappointed for the players because they put so much into the game and I really didn’t think we deserved to lose.”