Mackay-Steven: Cup final heartbreak can spur us on

Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven says his team will be driven on by the memory of last season's cup final defeat. Picture: SNS
Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven says his team will be driven on by the memory of last season's cup final defeat. Picture: SNS
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GARY Mackay-Steven insists Dundee United are being driven on by the memory of their Scottish Cup final heartache against St Johnstone last season.

The Tangerines were heartbroken to lose 2-0 to Tayside rivals Saints in their Celtic Park showdown back in May when they failed to produce on the big stage.

But winger Mackay-Steven reckons Jackie McNamara’s men can use that painful experience to their advantage as they gear up to face Motherwell in Saturday’s fourth round clash at Fir Park in their quest to go one better than last term.

He said: “We didn’t cover ourselves in glory in the final right at the end of last season.

“Now we want to put that right. Hopefully, the memory of last season and how it ended up can spur us on.

“We have to work hard and take one game at a time – first and foremost Motherwell this weekend – and see where it takes us.

“It’s a big thing for the club. Cup runs are special.

“We’ve done quite well in recent seasons and want to keep that going obviously.

“Last season was bitter-sweet in the end, but we had a great run and hopefully we can do something similar this season.

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“It’s a great thing to be involved in, and it’s what a lot of the boys look forward to.

“The cup games bring a different atmosphere, especially when you get to the latter stages of the tournament. It’s still early in the Scottish Cup, but it’s a big game for us and Motherwell.”

United are going out to exact revenge for their recent 1-0 defeat away to managerless Motherwell in the Premiership and Mackay-Steven believes they have every right to fancy their chances on the back of last weekend’s 3-1 win over Kilmarnock.

He said: “We’re definitely confident because our performance against Kilmarnock was good. I also thought the team played quite well the last time we played against Motherwell which was in the league.

“Although we lost 1-0, there were still a lot of positives to take from that game. So we’ll definitely go into this cup game in confident mood. “Football’s a strange game. Sometimes in football you can dominate a game and still lose like we did there recently. Other times, you take your chances and that’s what it’s all about.

“We took a few of our chances on Saturday and ended up winning the game against Killie. I felt maybe we deserved to win the previous match with Motherwell, but they took their chance and that’s how it goes.”

Mackay-Steven knows Motherwell won’t be any pushovers, though, so will give the Steelmen every respect despite their recent woes.

He said: “Every time we play Motherwell, we know what they’re capable of. In the past few seasons, they’ve always seemed to come good at the end of the season. They’ve shown consistently what they’re all about. They’re a dangerous team with a lot of good players.

“But if we can take the performances of our last few games and the confidence into Saturday and take our chances, then hopefully we can go through.”

Mackay-Steven, 24, could be in his last season for the Tannadice club as his contract expires in the summer, but he’s still determined to recapture top form for United who’re without suspended Nadir Ciftci and injured Mario Bilate for the trip to Fir Park.

He said: “I’ve not really got going yet. But I feel I’m fit now and am raring to go. So I think the best is yet to come.

“I believe we have options in attack. Anyone who comes in can do a job. Just a few weeks ago against Motherwell, Ryan Down played up front. He’s not an out-and-out striker. He’s similar to an attacking midfielder. But we’ve got boys who can play in forward-thinking positions, the way they move about looking for space. It means we can cause any team problems.”

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