Dundee United boss Csaba Laszlo hopes he can return to Pittodrie on league business next season after losing 4-2 to Aberdeen in the cup.
This wasn’t quite the demolition job some expected from the Dons in this William Hill fifth round clash yesterday.
Indeed, the Tangerines should be able to take at least some positives from periods of decent play against the Premiership side, especially in the second half.
Adam Rooney gave the hosts the lead and former Dundee United star Gary Mackay-Steven made it two before Sam Stanton got one back for the Tangerines on 34 minutes.
The Dons waited just 60 seconds before making it 3-1 through Kenny McLean and Mackay-Steven got his second and his team’s fourth.
United sub Paul McMullan got another back for the visitors but the hosts held on.
Now Laszlo is keen to return to the Granite City having restored United in the top flight.
The Tannadice boss said: “Now the cup is finished and we have to concentrate on the Championship.
“Hopefully, next season we can come back to Aberdeen next season and play them in the league.
“That is my wish.
“Some people told me before the game that for Dundee United it is maybe better than we don’t have these extra matches in the cup.
“I saw it differently because the cup can lift the spirit and our spirit was lifted in the second half – definitely.
“We have 14 games to go and the most important this is that the players understand that we have to win everything.
“This is not just about going out and playing football – this is not enough.
“You need to show your individual quality.
“We knew that Aberdeen were the better team and scored a lot of goals.
“However, you also ask why they scored so many goals today.
“It was because of our mistakes.”
Laszlo was particularly angered by the loss of Mackay-Steven’s first, when Craig Slater lost possession, and McLean’s header that came just a minute after Stanton’s strike.
“I think we gave away two easy goals,” he said.
“The key points were the second and third goals.
“We said to Aberdeen: ‘Go on, score a goal.’
“This is what killed us.
“We had come back to 2-1 thanks to a very good goal from Sam Stanton and I was confident that we could keep that scoreline but we conceded a headed goal almost straight away.
“In the second half, I think I can be very satisfied with the spirit and how we came back.
“We tried to move ourselves higher tactically and we have to do that because our opponent was 3-1 up.
“We attempted to change the game and put Paul McMullan up front in a 4-4-2 and he showed that he can cause trouble and scored a very nice goal.
“Aberdeen at this moment were maybe a bit surprised a little bit but I’m upset because had we scored a third goal to make it 4-3 it would have been interesting.
“OK, we didn’t do that and we have to accept that.”