Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

McGuinn adjusting to life as a pro

Niall McGinn is beginning to find his feet for Northern Ireland and Celtic.

Now the pacy winger wants to keep his good form going and put World Cup finalists Serbia to the sword on Saturday in a friendly at Windsor Park.

McGinn, 22, followed an impressive first start for the province in the draw against the Czech Republic last month with his first goal for Celtic.

National team manager Nigel Worthington described the player's performance as a breath of fresh air and the indications are he will retain his place in Belfast.

It has been a whirlwind year for a player who learned his trade with Dungannon Swifts and Derry City before arriving at Parkhead, where he has been part of the Europa League squad.

Yet at one stage it seemed set to spend his days playing Gaelic football as he wore the colours of Tyrone Under-21s.

McGinn said: "I am playing with a bit of confidence and enjoying my football at the moment. Hopefully that will continue.

"This is only my second season as a full-time pro and it can take a while to adjust. But I now feel things are going along nicely.

"The manager (Tony Mowbray) likes to play attacking football and being a winger that suits me down to the ground.

"He has shown faith in me and I appreciate that, although I realise there is stiff competition for places at the club."

McGinn is relishing the challenge Serbia pose.

He said: "It will be a hard test as they are going to the World Cup and have a lot of good players to call on.

"But we did well against the Czechs and are looking forward to facing Serbia and trying to break them down."

Meanwhile Worthington is ready to begin talks on a new contract to stay on as manager.

He plans to sit down after the match against Serbia with Irish FA president Raymond Kennedy to strike a new deal ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifiers.

"The contract situation is very straightforward and simple," Worthington told the Belfast Telegraph.

"We haven't had an opportunity to sit down. There is no real urgency about that.

"We will sit down and have a discussion and hopefully we can move forward."

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