Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Nations Cup: Northern Ireland's Bhoys out to impress in Dublin

Celtic's Northern Ireland contingent are determined not to return to the east end of Glasgow as losers.

Hoops team-mates McGinn and Paddy McCourt could be tussling with their Celts comrade Scott Brown when Northern Ireland take on Scotland next Wednesday and they don’t want him or their Parkhead team-mates to have the bragging rights.

Celtic skipper Brown, a regular member of the Scotland side, was sent off in an Old Firm game after clashing with Rangers striker and Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty last March.

Another Parkhead favourite, Shaun Maloney, has made 20 appearances for Scotland, — however he will not feature as he is recovering from ankle surgery.

Both McGinn and McCourt want to keep playing for Northern Ireland despite learning of packages containing bullets sent to them in the post and the Carling Nations Cup is an opportunity for them to refocus on international football — and embarrass a Parkhead team-mate in the process.

“I've always said I wanted to play for Northern Ireland,” conceded McCourt. “Sometimes I'm in the squad, sometimes I'm not. That's Nigel Worthington’s decision. Hopefully the more games I play here, the more I'll be in his mind.

“There's been a lot of players that found it tough at Celtic, playing for such a big club.

"But when you set out playing football as a young lad, you want to go to the top of your game and so far getting to Celtic has been the top for me.”