Ciftci: We'll learn from loss
Nadir Ciftci believes Dundee United will bounce back stronger next season if the Tannadice squad remains intact.
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The 22-year-old Turkish striker and his team-mates are still smarting from the 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup final defeat to St Johnstone at Celtic Park on Saturday.
Goals from Saints defender Steven Anderson and striker Steven MacLean took the cup to Perth for the first time in the club's 130-year-history as United were left thinking what might have been.
While speculation will soon surround the future of some of Jackie McNamara's key young players, including Andy Robertson and Stuart Armstrong, Ciftci insists some good will come from the cup disappointment - if the squad can stay together.
The former Portsmouth player 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."
There was cause for United to curse their luck in what was an action-packed encounter.
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, 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."