Jackie McNamara praises Dundee United's fighting spirit

Dundee United celebrate Brian Graham's late equaliser against Hibs

Jackie McNamara lamented two decisions by referee Steven McLean but praised his Dundee United players for fighting back to earn a point against Hibernian.

Liam Craig seized on a defensive error to give Hibs the lead then scored what McNamara called a "very soft" penalty.

But two late goals by David Goodwillie and Brian Graham meant it ended 2-2.

The manager said: "It was a great test of character. We kept pushing and got our just rewards. I am pleased with the response of the players."

The United goals halted a run of three consecutive Scottish Premiership defeats and the point lifts them above Inverness into fourth place, though they have played two games more than the Highlanders.

McNamara was unhappy that referee McLean had not punished Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams 30 minutes into the match.

Nadir Ciftci struck a long ball forward for Gary Mackay-Steven which prompted Williams to run off his line before mis-kicking his attempted clearance.

Williams then grabbed Mackay-Steven who was about to home in on goal from just outside the box but the linesman raised his flag for offside and the visitors breathed a sigh of relief.

"In the offside position or not, the new rules state that if it touches one of their players, he becomes active. For me, that was the case there," the Terrors boss told BBC Scotland.

"We felt it was possibly a sending off. The flag came up very late."

And McNamara was aggrieved at Hibs' second goal just after the hour mark, when defender John Souttar was penalised for an aerial challenge on Hibs striker James Collins.

"The penalty we lost was very soft," he said.

"Young Souttar got the first header in and he got caught wrong side of him [Collins] but there wasn't a great deal of contact for him to go down like that."

McNamara described his team's passing as "quite negative at times" and felt that the likes of Souttar would learn from choosing the wrong moment to play a one-two with Mark Wilson in defence, following a goal-kick.

He added: "We tried to play it from the back when it wasn't on to play, everybody wasn't at the right position.

"But it's all part of their learning for the boys. Young John is only 17 and he'll learn from that and from the penalty."

As for the dramatic finish to the game, the former Scotland and Celtic defender said that with the goals being scored in front of the home fans behind Williams' goal, "it was a good end to the game" and that United could have pushed for the winner.

While Goodwillie's late contribution was met with delight by the United fans it is probable that he will be returning to England.

"He's a Blackburn player and his loan deal finishes next week so we'll see what happens," said McNamara.

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