sport

Ciftci: Keep squad together

Nadir Ciftci has urged Dundee United chiefs to keep the current squad together so that the club can bounce back stronger next season.

The Tangerines missed out on a third Scottish Cup success after being beaten by underdogs St Johnstone 2-0 at Celtic Park on Saturday.

Former Portsmouth forward Ciftci, 22, is concerned manager Jackie McNamara, who is wanted down south by Blackpool, and key young players including Andy Robertson, Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Gauld, could be lured away from Tannadice during the summer.

Ciftci said: "I hope (the squad is kept together) and if that happens then the team is going to be brilliant next year, because losing is another experience for all the young boys.

"You have to take it on board and get stronger and hopefully we can do better next season.

"But congratulations to St Johnstone, they won the cup and it is good for them.

"We were a bit unlucky, we hit the post, we hit the crossbar and we had another few chances which if we scored the game would have changed.

"So we were unlucky. But it has been a great season for us and the boys gave everything they could.

"We are such a young team and wanted to finish off the season by winning the cup but we didn't."

Favourites United were left to curse bad luck in Glasgow's east end as they attempted to overturn their deficit in the Parkhead cup decider.

Midfielder Ryan Dow hit the post in the first half when the game was goalless and Ciftci struck the bar with a free-kick early in the second half at 1-0, the ball hitting Saints keeper Alan Mannus on the way down but still staying out.

Ciftci said: "I was already running to celebrate because it hit the bar and went down and apparently hit the keeper on his back, but I didn't see it.

"On another day it could have gone in so we were unlucky. If you look at the chances, we could have scored but we didn't and they scored two, and that is the way football is."