Dundee United turned in the most impressive performance of the Micky Mellon era to sweep abject Aberdeen aside 3-0 and earn their first Scottish Cup semi-final place since 2016.
Marc McNulty bagged a brace and turned in a virtuoso showing at Pittodrie — his finest since arriving on loan — and Ryan Edwards scored his fourth goal of the campaign with a trademark thundering header.
It was just the second time United have rippled the net three times or more against a top-flight team this season (Livingston in February being the other) and the triumph could have been even more handsome.
Jeando Fuchs, Ian Harkes and Nicky Clark all came tantalisingly close to getting their names on the scoresheet as United threatened to run riot, taking full advantage of gaping holes in the Dons’ backline and midfield.
Mellon, just 10 months into his management career in Scotland, could be 180 minutes from winning the Scottish Cup.
United boss Micky Mellon resisted the temptation to pitch goalkeeper Ross Doohan straight into action following his arrival on loan from Celtic, with Deniz Mehmet retaining his place between the sticks.
Liam Smith, Jamie Robson, Harkes and Fuchs were the only other survivors from Wednesday’s experimental, youthful ensemble which was comprehensively defeated 3-0 at Kilmarnock.
While not quite a consequential as the fractured wrist which has ruled Benjamin Siegrist out for the season, Aberdeen were also without their first-choice custodian. Gary Woods again stood in for Joe Lewis, who was fit enough for the bench.
Mellon’s decision to keep faith with Mehmet was justified with just 10 minutes on the clock, with the 28-year-old parrying a ferocious Matty Kennedy shot before recovering splendidly to block Callum Hendry’s rebound.
That double-save was all the more valuable when United claimed the lead after 16 minutes.
A sleepy, languid attempt at hold-up play by Flo Kamberi allowed Clark to steal possession and find Lawrence Shankland. He drew two Dons defenders towards him at the edge of the box before feeding McNulty, whose low finish was utterly unerring.
What followed was the zenith of Mellon’s time in charge at Tannadice, thus far.
Harkes was a studs’ length away from converting a McNulty cross at the back-post; Woods denied Fuchs from point-blank range; Clark hit the post with a ruling effort from distance.
The visitors looked like scoring with every venture forward.
A richly-merited second goal came courtesy of an emphatic Edwards header, with the big centre-half towering above a woeful Dons’ resistance to convert a Clark free-kick.
The second period commenced with howls for an Aberdeen penalty — Hendry appeared to be cleaned out by Mehmet as he headed a corner-kick wide — but referee Kevin Clancy gave short shrift to the howls for a spot-kick.
And within minutes the match was made safe and United’s path to Hampden assured, with a silky-smooth counter-attack culminating in Harkes sending McNulty haring through on goal. The twice-capped Scotland international made no mistake with a clinical finish under the body of Woods.