In dreadful conditions, Aberdeen could not find the goal they needed to beat a feisty Kilmarnock, the two teams now meeting in a replay on February 19th to decode who goes into the last eight.
After Wednesday's defeat at home to St Johnstone, Derek McInnes made five changes to his starting XI with Shay Logan, Michael Devlin, Funso Ojo, Dean Campbell and Niall McGinn all coming into the team. Ryan Hedges, Ronald Hernandez and Dylan McGeouch all started the game on the bench, while Ash Taylor missed out through injury. Jon Gallagher was also absent from the matchday 18 with Curtis Main and Connor McLennan coming back onto the bench.
Kilmarnock, fresh from Wednesday's 3-1 win over Ross County, their first in 10 Premiership games, made just two changes, Kirk Broadfoot and Connor Johnson coming in for Stuart Findlay and Chris Burke.
The game began in bright sunlight but a swirling, blustery wind was always going to make life awkward for the players to judge their weight of pass. The Dons won a free-kick high up the pitch, wide on the right, in the third minute, Campbell whipping a terrific ball into the box, Bransecu at full stretch to punch it clear. Killie responded sharply, Brophy finding space at inside-left, driving a shot across the face of goal, just beating the far post.
A positive run from Logan won the Dons another free-kick out on the right in the 10th minute. This time it was McGinn to cross, Matty Kennedy hacked down right on the edge of the box as Killie tried to clear, just to the right of the D. McGinn wrapped his right boot around it, curling the ball round the wall but a yard wide of the post.
Aberdeen were playing with much better purpose and tempo in the opening quarter, keeping the visitors pinned into their defensive third, while being aggressive in the tackle when Killie did get on the ball. Sadly, the wind was becoming more aggressive too, making life increasingly difficult and the game increasingly scrappy.
Broadfoot was in the book in the 29th minute, sliding through Kennedy down the left wing. McGinn's ball in from the free-kick looked threatening but the wind took it just over Scott McKenna, coming in at the back post.
Campbell was running things for the Dons with an impressive display from the left of midfield, and he found another fine ball to set McGinn away, winning the Dons' first corner in the 32nd minute, Branescu flying through the air again to punch clear.
Another free-kick on the right touchline came in the 40th minute, McGinn again over it, but again, no Aberdeen player could get a head on it. The Dons recycled it out to the left, Kennedy's cutback from the by-line well cut out by Power. As Killie tried to come away, Campbell collected a soft yellow card for a slight contact on Dicker.
That was the last real action of the half, the deadlock remaining unbroken though the Dons were looking much livelier than in midweek.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 KILMARNOCK 0
The conditions hadn't improved any at the start of the second half, Branescu unable to sit the ball down to take a goal kick in the opening minute, a problem that continued all half.
A driving run from Lewis Ferguson got him to the by-line in the 49th minute, his cross getting a touch off the goalkeeper before spinning across goal, over. The incoming Kennedy and out for a corner. Branescu took a knock in saving and had prolonged treatment before continuing, McGinn again struggling to get the ball to hold still before taking the corner.
It was half cleared but Sam Cosgrove won a free-kick 22 yards out and central. With Ferguson having to hold the ball to stop it moving in the wind, McGinn stepped up but put his shot over the bar.
On the hour, Main joined the fray in place of Logan as the Dons looked to find that elusive goal, going with three at the back. Killie finally had a pop at goal in the 63rd minute, Brophy having a dip from 25 yards, Joe Lewis saving to his right.
McGinn speared in a low cross from wide on the right in the 66th minute, the ball bouncing awkwardly in front of Branescu who grabbed it at the second attempt, impeded by Broadfoot. Four minutes later, Ferguson didn't quite get hold of a shot from 20 yards which bobbled harmlessly wide.
Ferguson was trying to get further forward and won a free-kick 25 yards out in the 73rd minute, level with the right side of the box. McGinn's ball was touched behind by Brophy at the back post, but no corner was given.
Ferguson was clobbered again in the 80th minute, Power booked for his late challenge, giving Aberdeen another free-kick some 30 yards out. McGinn floated it into the box, the ball caught by the wind which turned it like a Shane Warne leg-break, Branescu having to change direction to pluck it out of the air on the line.
Bruce Anderson was sent on in the 86th minute to replace Cosgrove as the Dons tried to end the stalemate and avoid a replay down at Rugby Park. McKenzie went into the book for a rugby tackle on Ferguson in the 89th minute. Campbell's free-kick got stuck in the wind, allowing Main to drag it down, his ferocious shot on the turn flying just over the bar. Killie then swapped Millen for Brophy, McLennan replacing Kennedy for the hosts.
McLennan made an instant impact, darting down the right and slinging a cross in to win a corner. McGinn took it but Kilmarnock were able to launch it clear, leaving the sides with it all to do again in Ayrshire.