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Niall McGinn is relishing a swift return to Euro duty with Aberdeen

By Steven Beacom

Published 29/06/2016

Go West: Niall McGinn poses at his award-winning bar and grill in west Belfast, which he co-owns with agent Gerry Carlile
Go West: Niall McGinn poses at his award-winning bar and grill in west Belfast, which he co-owns with agent Gerry Carlile

Goalscoring hero Niall McGinn is ready to make a quick return to action for Aberdeen after Northern Ireland's Euro 2016 adventure ended at the weekend.

While most of Michael O'Neill's players are looking forward to the prospect of a holiday after their efforts in France, winger McGinn will play in a Europa League qualifier tomorrow night at Pittodrie against Luxembourg minnows CS Fola Esch.

He is certain to receive a warm reception from the Aberdeen faithful, who will have watched McGinn become only the eighth Northern Ireland player in history to score a goal in the finals of a major tournament when he netted in the 2-0 victory over Ukraine.

After enjoying the homecoming party at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast on Monday night, McGinn flew to Scotland yesterday for a training session and will complete a remarkable month by playing in Europe at club level tomorrow.

"I'm playing on Thursday for Aberdeen in our opening round match in the Europa League," explained McGinn.

"I have been training away in France and working hard. It is just a matter of getting my legs going again and playing for my club.

"The manager (Derek McInnes) wants to get off to a good start in the competition and I'll be aiming to contribute to the team and help us claim a good result.

"It's going to be great seeing all the Aberdeen boys, who have been keeping an eye on the Euros."

After the first-leg game, McGinn will be given a much earned break.

He'll no doubt spend some time at the restaurant, 26 West Bar & Grill, he co-owns with agent Gerry Carlile. The ex-Celtic star launched a new menu yesterday morning.

The award-winning west Belfast venue got into the spirit of the Euro finals serving up special dishes and drinks, including the Niall McGinn Strawberry Gin.

McGinn won't have to buy many more drinks in Northern Ireland after that famous goal in Lyon.

"On a personal note I couldn't have wished for anything more. To go and play in a major tournament was fantastic and to come on and score a goal was the best moment of my life," said McGinn.

"The whole experience was amazing and I think as the weeks and months go on we will look back at it and reflect on what a fantastic time we had and what an unbelievable experience it was to be part of.

"We have the World Cup qualifying campaign coming up next and we know it will be extremely difficult with just one team qualifying automatically in the group, but we have to use the experience from the Euros, from qualifying for the finals in France when we played really well.

"We have shown that we are capable of beating anyone at Windsor Park and our away record has improved as well. It's got the potential to be a really interesting campaign and all the boys will be determined to do well again."

Belfast Telegraph

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