Ciftci eyes winning run after Tannadice late show

Nadir Ciftci, centre, shows his delight after his stoppage-time winner. Picture: SNS
Nadir Ciftci, centre, shows his delight after his stoppage-time winner. Picture: SNS
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Nadir Ciftci hopes Dundee United can go on another winning run as they attempt to finish the season on a high.

Dundee United 3-2 St Mirren

Scorers: Dundee United - Graham (79), Armstrong (84), Ciftci (90); St Mirren - McGowan (21), Thompson (41)

Jackie McNamara’s side returned to winning ways at Tannadice at the weekend as the Turkish forward’s injury-time decider rounded off a spirited late fight-back against St Mirren.

United are now up to fourth in the Scottish Premiership and hope to rediscover their momentum after Tayside rivals St Johnstone had dashed their hopes of a sixth straight win last week.

Ciftci, who was joined on the scoresheet by substitutes Brian Graham and Stuart Armstrong, insists United are aiming to recapture their finest form during the run-in. “This was a great result,” he said. “We had been playing very well and getting some good results before the St Johnstone game. That was a disappointment but in football you just have to move on. That’s what we’ve managed to do and hopefully we can go from strength to strength again.

“There are a lot of important games between now and the end of the season. We’re looking forward to them all and want to get as good results as we can. We know we’re capable of it and we know we have to be ready for that challenge.”

United looked in trouble when they trailed 2-0 at the break. Paul McGowan headed St Mirren ahead from a Marc McAusland floated free kick and shortly before the break Saints increased their lead when Gavin Gunning’s attempt at clearing John McGinn’s low cross bounced straight off Thompson before nestling in the net.

United rallied in the last 11 minutes to salvage the game. Graham sparked the fightback in 79 minutes when he converted Ryan Dow’s cross from close range, albeit St Mirren felt the goalscorer was offside. Five minutes later the hosts found themselves on level terms when Armstrong finished from 15 yards after McAusland was unable to clear Gary Mackay-Steven’s cross.

Then, in injury-time, Ciftci sealed an unlikely win by bundling the ball home from close range after Marian Kello had spilled Dow’s powerful shot.

United manager McNamara praised his players for battling to the end. He said: “It was one of those games. Sometimes you just have to keep going and going to get your rewards. That’s what we did and even though we didn’t play all that well we showed we have fight. That’s down to the players for never giving up so all credit to them for sticking at things.”

Saints manager Danny Lennon insisted his side were not to blame for their late collapse which began with a hotly-contested first goal by Graham on 79 minutes which looked offside. Lennon said: “The lads put so much into the game. It’s very hard when a decision like the one at their first goal goes against you. Up until then we had played very well and looked like we were going to win the game.”