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Despite falling to defeat in extra time at the hands of Celtic, the Terrors' boss is ready to get his side motivated for a European push with the visit of Motherwell

Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara was upbeat about his up and coming youngsters despite losing to Celtic in extra time in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

Despite a double from Jon Daly and a Gary Mackay-Steven strike, the Tannadice side made their way back to Tayside on the end of a 4-3 defeat to the SPL leaders.

Former Celtic skipper McNamara was delighted in the performances of two of his youngest players, 17-year-old striker Ryan Gauld and 16-year-old defender John Souttar.

"People look at that in a massive game today, not just playing against Celtic players, but international players and they don't look out of place," the 39-year-old told reporters.

"Whether they're 16 or 17-year-olds, Ryan Gauld, his ability and his awareness - for me they're a joy to work with, along with the whole squad."

McNamara was critical of the performance of under-fire referee Craig Thomson, believing two key decisions went against his side.

Gary Mackay-Steven thought he should have had a penalty, and the Dundee United defence felt Kris Commons' second goal should have been disallowed for handball.

He added: "Whether it was [a penalty] or not, I'm 60 yards away, but I thought Gary put his body in the right position goal side.

"But it's a bit dubious with Commons' second goal were it hit [him] in the hand; but again there's no point carrying on about it, these things either go for you [or they don't]."

Now the Tannadice side must prepare for the visit of second place Motherwell and McNamara hopes a victory will help his side's European push, adding praise for his team's travelling supporters.

He continued: "We've got another big game on Friday night, we've got a chance, the way the fixtures are, to jump into fourth place and the lads are a bit down at the moment, but we'll get them up for Friday.

"[The supporters] were great, they really helped us, especially when you lose a goal so early.

"It's easy just to fold and try and make no more mistakes, but we handled it and responded in the right matter. We went 2-1 up, but it would have been good to send them back up the road going into a final."