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Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 19:09 UK

Dundee United could split Old Firm - Gary Kenneth

Garry Kenneth celebrates with the Scottish Cup
Kenneth helped Dundee United lift the Scottish Cup on Saturday

Garry Kenneth is confident Scottish Cup winners Dundee United can improve further next season and challenge the Old Firm in the league.

Their best season since the 1980s glory years ended with United third in the Scottish Premier League and beating Ross County in Saturday's final.

"I think we will bring in a few faces over this summer and we will push to split the Old Firm," said the defender.

"I don't see why we can't. We got third and were just pipped by Celtic."

Captain Andy Webster is returning to Rangers after his season-long loan ended with United's second-ever Scottish Cup triumph.

And Kenneth, along with the likes of midfielder Morgaro Gomis and Craig Conway, is being linked with a move to English clubs this summer.

I remember the disappointment of getting beaten in 2005 and I didn't want to come to Hampden and go away without a winner's medal

Dundee United defender Garry Kenneth

But chairman Stephen Thompson has insisted that no key players will be allowed to leave without adequate compensation and Kenneth thinks the side can improve further, even if players move on.

"If we work as hard as we did this year then I don't see why we can't go on to greater things next year," said the 22-year-old, who was the subject of a failed bid by Coca-Cola Championship play-off finalists Blackpool in January.

United eventually finished 18 points behind Celtic, but manager Peter Houston had rested numerous first-choice players in the final three games after the Glasgow club had ended United's 11-match unbeaten run and hopes of second place.

However, there was no sign of momentum being disrupted as a familiar line-up controlled Saturday's cup final from start to finish in the 3-0 win over their opponents from Division One.

The victory was all the sweeter for Kenneth given the painful memory of his appearance as a teenager during the 2005 final defeat by Celtic.

"It was always going to be difficult when you're changing the team so much and players are coming in and out," he said.

"But the team that has played most of the year hit their consistency and got their form back and did the job.

"It's unbelievable, it's hard to describe. I'm just delighted to be part of it.

Departing Webster thanks United fans

"I remember the disappointment of getting beaten in 2005 and I didn't want to come to Hampden and go away without a winner's medal. It's such a complete contrast."

The scale of United's achievement was brought home further to Kenneth as emotional coach Paul Hegarty celebrated his first Scottish Cup success with the club after four final defeats as a player.

"I think he was enjoying it more than us," Kenneth said. "He was reduced to tears, he said it was a massive pleasure to be part of a team like that.

"So bringing pleasure upon 27,000 fans and Paul Hegarty, the manager and coach Gary Kirk is great."

Meanwhile, Webster paid tribute United and their fans as he prepared for a return to Ibrox.

"Any footballer wants to win major trophies and that's what we achieved," he said.

"The fans have been terrific for me. The coaching staff, the backroom staff, the boys, everyone has been magnificent and it's been a great season for me."

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see also
Dundee Utd appoint Houston boss
25 May 10 |  Dundee Utd
Houston eager for Dundee Utd stay
16 May 10 |  Dundee Utd
Wilkie glad to share in Cup party
16 May 10 |  Dundee Utd
Dundee United 3-0 Ross County
15 May 10 |  Scottish Cups
Terrors unfazed by transfer talk
23 Apr 10 |  Dundee Utd
Terrors repel second Kenneth bid
29 Jan 10 |  Dundee Utd

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