DUNDEE United manager Jackie McNamara praised Gary Mackay-Steven for his performance at Firhill, stressed he wanted to keep his striker for the team’s league and cup challenges – but admitted he’d be powerless to stop the player leaving in the transfer window.
Asked about a rumoured bid after the 2-2 draw with Partick Thistle which again showed up United’s inconsistency, McNamara said: “There’s nothing. I’d like to keep everyone at the football club but we’ve always known he could go in the summer because he’ll be out of contract.
“If anything happens in this window it’ll be out of my hands. But I want to try and keep all my players here, until the end of the season anyway. There are young ones we’ve sold because we’ve had to. But, with GMS, we were prepared to lose him for nothing in the summer. We have to weigh up what’s best for us. There’s the financial side but also what he can give us in terms of getting to cup finals and pushing up the league. It has to be right for the club, first and foremost.”
Mackay-Steven scored United’s first and had a big hand in their second. “He was the one avenue that was really successful for us with his determination and his movement,” said McNamara.
However, the Tannadice manager was disappointed his team hadn’t won the game after starting well. “We lost a goal from a corner, lost our shape and discipline, were second to the ball and could have been 3-1 down at half-time.
“In the second half, it was one-way traffic. The introduction of the youngsters really helped us. [Charlie] Telfer was outstanding and [Blair] Spittal playing out of position made things happen. On another day we might have snatched the win at the end but our inconsistency is frustrating.
“At half-time I had to settle them down again but I’ve been saying the same thing a few times now.
“If you want to be successful and win things, you’re going to be under pressure at certain points. That’s when you’ve got to be resolute and give nothing away.”
Asked if the dropped points demonstrated that talk of United’s title challenge was fanciful, McNamara said: “Well, it’s a game we should be winning but Celtic drew at home to Ross County. There’s a long way to go. A lot of teams seem to be winning games one-nil.
“Aberdeen have been grinding out these results. Because of little mistakes and lapses in concentration, we haven’t been able to do that.”
United have signed striker Simon Murray from Arbroath but will loan him back to the Gayfield club until the end of the season. McNamara said: “He’s the top scorer in Scotland with 18 goals. We like what we see in terms of his pace and eye for goal. We know we can make him better.”
Partick manager Alan Archibald was delighted with the spirit shown by his stricken side. “We had eight players missing today so I must be happy with a point but, if it had got to 3-1, it might have been a different outcome. The young boys who came in all did well.
“United targeted them at the start but Mackay-Steven will cause any side problems.
“The experienced guys helped the youngsters and, while I thought the energy level was incredible given there’s been a bug going around the place, we played some really good stuff as well. We caused a very good side loads of problems.”