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Euro 2016: Ukraine strike the greatest moment of my career: Niall McGinn

By Allan Preston

Published 18/06/2016

Northern Ireland winger Niall McGinn
Northern Ireland winger Niall McGinn

Northern Ireland winger Niall McGinn has called his late goal against Ukraine the greatest moment of his life.

The 28-year-old from Tyrone came off the bench to seal the team's historic 2-0 victory in injury time. Fans had been holding their breath after defender Gareth McAuley's header put Northern Ireland in front in the second half.

Speaking yesterday, McGinn said he still couldn't believe what happened.

"Just an unbelievable night to be part of, even sitting on the bench watching the game the atmosphere was just unreal," he said.

"To get on the pitch I was over the moon but I wouldn't have dreamt I would have come on and scored."

McGinn, who plays for Aberdeen, scored his first international goal in Portugal, spoiling Cristiano Ronaldo's 100th cap for his country in a 1-1 draw.

But he called Thursday's triumph unbeatable.

"I think that's going to be the best moment of my life. I scored on the European stage and there were millions watching around the world," he said.

"To score against Ronaldo on his 100th cap was obviously a special moment, and the first goal is always special, but to score in a major tournament against the best in the world, I don't think anything can top that."

Although he admits disappointment at not getting on the pitch for the Poland game, he says he's happy to be a super-sub.

He reflected: "If it keeps working, why not?

"I'll be over the moon with it. No, for me personally I was just delighted to get on the pitch and play some minutes.

"The manager, management team, and players have all come up to me and said, 'Well done for biding your time, you just got rewarded by coming on and scoring like that.'"

Northern Ireland's victory means the team are still in with a fighting chance of making the knockout stages of the tournament.

A win against world champions Germany on Tuesday will guarantee them a second place finish in their group.

However, a loss against the Germans may not be the end for Michael O'Neill's men as the four best teams who finish third in the group stages will progress to the final 16.

Belfast Telegraph

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