He was pleased, of course, with David Goodwillie's hat-trick against Partick Thistle on Wednesday and his side's place in the quarter-finals of the Scottish League Cup, but he had given away that which goalkeepers covet most: the clean sheet. "Everybody else was really happy," he said. "I was the only sad one because we lost a goal. It is always disappointing for a goalkeeper when you don't shut the other team out. I was a little bit down because of that but, at the same time, I realise that the most important thing is the victory."
It was a return to form of the prodigal son, Goodwillie, who will now be fully embraced by the forgiving Tannadice fans. "Goodie gets a hat-trick and I was delighted for him because everyone knows he is a very good player and that it would eventually go right for him," said Cierzniak. "Personally, though, I would have loved to keep a clean sheet. That would have made it the perfect night."
The 30-year-old believes that manager Jackie McNamara's decision to freshen up the side amid a hectic schedule was the foundation of Wednesday's success. "I think we do need to make changes," he admitted. "Because if you play every few days it is difficult for players to recover. Using the squad is also good because it means everyone has to be focused all the time. Nobody knows if they are definitely playing and that means you have to be ready all the time."
Hearts await at Tynecastle this afternoon, and manager Jackie McNamara hopes their young side will be tired after their penalty shoot-out victory over Queen of the South.
"Hearts have a lot of young boys," he said. "They've started well considering all the pressure they're under. Tynecastle is a great place to go and play. I think that will help the kids get through this season. I honestly think that will be the making of Hearts in the next few years. They might be a bit down now but they'll get the benefit of it in years to come. But we just want to concentrate on our own game and hopefully get the three points."
Gary Mackay-Steven, the United winger, will face a last-minute cfitness test. But defender Gavin Gunning will definitely miss out as he sits out the final game of his three-match suspension.
For the hosts, Ryan Stevenson could return for the first time since suffering a knee injury in August. It would be a boost to a team bidding to overcome the effects of Wednesday's exertions. "During the last few weeks we have been looking at other results because we have not been picking up any ourselves," said captain Danny Wilson. "We are fortunate that no-one has really pulled away from us."