Garry Kenneth admits he couldn't bear the thought of leaving Dundee United on a downer.

The defender's season appeared to be over after he injured his hamstring recently, but he recovered to face Hearts in last weekend's 2-2 draw at Tannadice.

Kenneth, who is leaving his boyhood idols when his contract expires in the summer, insists his worst nightmare was departing without getting the chance to say goodbye to those who have supported him since he broke through at the age of 17. Now, though, the 24-year-old is aiming to savour every minute as United continue chasing Motherwell for the third place that would seal a place in the Champions League qualifiers next season.

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Kenneth said: "There were a few doubts that I might not play again but I am a quick healer. I would have hated to leave on a low going out injured; that was the worst-case scenario. I was determined to play. I was never going to leave without playing, even for the last few minutes of our final game.

"I'll be going in the summer but I'm no further forward with getting a new club, although that's on the back-burner for just now. Right now all I am concentrating on is playing here and we will see what happens at the end of the season."

Kenneth appreciates what is at stake for United over the next few days, with a trip to Ibrox to face Rangers this evening then Celtic coming to Tannadice on Sunday, and insists his side are prepared to attack in an attempt to finish third and earn a Champions League place.

"We've still got nine points to play for to try and catch Motherwell," Kenneth said. "I still feel we have a massive chance. We probably have to go and win our last three games but why not? They still have tough games to play so it's all very much to play for between now and the end of the season.

"Our target at the start of the split was to win five matches and nothing's changed. If you are going to say 'well, we can maybe go and get a result against Rangers but we might not win against Celtic' that's not the way to win games. You have to be positive to pick up the victories you're looking for. So we are determined to take the game to Rangers, Celtic and Motherwell and give it absolutely everything. The good thing for us is that we now have nothing to lose. We will go out, enjoy our football and hopefully pick up three wins.

"Getting the club into the Champions League would be a dream, but we will take it one game at a time. It is a big challenge playing the Old Firm in the space of a week but these are the sort of games you want to play in. We won't need any extra incentive. We're all buzzing at the prospect and hopefully we can get the results we're looking for."