Radoslaw Cierzniak will never forget the “special” moment he finally triumphed over Celtic – and insists a follow-up win over St Johnstone today would round off the perfect Christmas.
The triumphant Tangerines are still on a high from beating Ronny Deila’s men 2-1 in front of the live cameras last Sunday, and no-one more so than their Polish goalkeeper who had extra cause to savour their long-awaited result.
Polish ace Cierzniak’s entire family were in the City of Discovery to realise just what it meant to Jackie McNamara’s men and the 31-year-old admits that’s what made it all the more sweet this festive period.
The former Korona Kielce No 1 is thrilled to have his close-knit family around him over Christmas for the first time since joining the Tayside club back in the summer of 2012, and has revealed how a victory in this afternoon’s Tayside derby would act as the icing on the cake.
He said: “It was amazing. It was the first time I’ve beaten Celtic since coming to Scotland. It’s been a long time coming to be honest.
“It was also special because my family were all here too. That’s what made it extra good. My father-in-law was in the stadium, my wife, Donata, and our daughter, Nella, watched it as well on television. It’s the first time my family have been across from Poland for Christmas.
“It’s a special time for me and my wife as it’s our first Christmas together with our daughter who is just seven months. It’s a great feeling when you are all together as a family. Now, all I can say is that another win would make it a great Christmas period and that’s what we’re all geared up to try and do against St Johnstone.”
United have an obvious spring in their step going into this afternoon’s Tayside tussle in Perth as they sit just four points behind league leaders Celtic. But Cierzniak has insisted they won’t let the emotion of last weekend’s win go to their heads because beating St Johnstone is now the only thing on their minds.
“It’s always a good feeling for the next few days after you’ve beaten such a big team like Celtic,” Cierzniak said.
“But, of course, we have to move on, and it’s all about St Johnstone now. It made for a very happy day but when you think about it, it’s only three points. At the moment, we haven’t won anything.
“We are in a decent position in the league table and want to build on things. It would be easy to get carried away but that won’t happen.
“We will all have our feet on the ground as we know what an important spell it is over Christmas, trying to get as many victories as possible.”
United face back-to-back derbies as they gear up to face Saints in the Fair City before turning their attention to the New Year’s Day clash with near neighbours Dundee.
But Cierzniak believes United will have enough experience within their ranks to focus fully on Tommy Wright’s Saints in the meantime.
He said: “Its two derbies we’ve got now coming up. For the fans and for us, they are two very special games. Against St Johnstone, I expect a very tough game. They are always hard opponents and this will be no different I’m sure.
“The next game for us against Dundee on New Year’s Day will be a full house and that will make for a great atmosphere. But the gaffer keeps saying to us that we can’t look any further ahead than the St Johnstone game so that is what we will do.
“The games are coming thick and fast. That’s what you are in this game for and hopefully we will enjoy every one and get the kind of positive results we’re all looking for.”