Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Niall McGinn: I won't quit Celtic over bullets or bigots

Niall McGinn

Niall McGinn has spoken for the first time since being sent bullets in the post at Celtic by saying he will not be driven out of the club by bigots.

The Northern Ireland international - who upset the Green and White Army when he admitted supporting the Republic of Ireland after a 5-0 thrashing dished out to Nigel Worthington's side by their neighbours in the Carling Nations Cup - says the intimidation will only intensify his desire to be successful in Glasgow.

Packages containing bullets were sent to the 23-year-old as well as his Celtic and international team-mate Paddy McCourt and Hoops boss Neil Lennon in January.

"Quitting Celtic? Are you insane? No chance," said the Donaghmore man. "Once you are at the club of your dreams you do everything in your power to stay.

"I'm also a determined character and I would not allow myself or my career to be derailed by what happened. If anything I use it as motivation to succeed at Celtic.

"I was completely shocked because I'm a footballer and I'm not involved in politics. I suppose I always believed professional sports people were exempt from such threats but evidently not in this case.

"I went through a lot of emotions from surprise to anger but ultimately I had to put everything out of my head and get on with playing football and doing my best to help Celtic win trophies.

"To be honest, I was worried more for my family who had little information as to the extent or seriousness of the threat and I spent some time reassuring my mother in particular that I would be fine."

Meanwhile, Wales international Adam Matthews has revealed the size of Celtic and their support was the key to him joining them ahead pursuing a chance to play in the Barclays Premier League.

The 19-year-old was unveiled by Celtic yesterday after signing a pre-contract in February, when his former club Cardiff had real aspirations of making the top flight.

The right-back said: "I just think it's the size of the club and the supporters. They have a massive fan base all over the world. They are one of the biggest clubs in the world so that was the main factor.

"They are the second most supported team in the world so it was a no-brainer. Any player would love to play for them."

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