Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Old Firm double can save Celtic, says McGinn

Niall McGinn accepts two Old Firm victories are likely to be required if Celtic are to overcome Rangers in the Scottish Premier League title race.

Tony Mowbray's side fell 10 points behind the Ibrox men at the top of the SPL after losing 2-1 to Hibernian at Parkhead on Wednesday night, the Hibees' breakaway winner coming seconds from the end through substitute Danny Galbraith.

Celtic have a game in hand away to Kilmarnock and have the opportunity to close the gap further in the two remaining games against Rangers, who have taken four points from the first two clashes between the teams this season.

McGinn is now targeting six points from the matches against the champions.

“The players were on a downer after the Hibs game, it was a killer goal to lose at the end,” said the Northern Ireland winger.

“Our confidence was high after the win over St Johnstone last weekend and we played really well against Hibs for the first 20-25 minutes.

“We had chances to tie the game up and I had the chance myself that I should have scored.

“It was a great knock down from Georgios Samaras, but their keeper made a good save and it was so disappointing to lose the late goal.

“We have to keep plugging away and hopefully the gap doesn't get much bigger.

“We have a game in hand and still two games to play against Rangers. Realistically, the only way we can close the gap is if we win all of those three games.

“Thankfully, we get the chance to put things right against Hamilton on Saturday.”

Galbraith is hoping his last-gasp winner at Parkhead signalled the end of his injury nightmare and the start of his Hibs career.

The 19-year-old has had to fight back to fitness after undergoing operations to cure ankle, knee and groin problems while a youth team player at Manchester United.

The teenager admits there were times when he thought he would never recover from his injury traumas.

“I saw more doctors and specialists when I was at Manchester than anything else,” he said.

“I had the ankle operation and the knee operation only to find out I needed more surgery for another injury.

“I never kicked a ball for 10 months, that was when I started to get really down. I was only 16 or 17 when it started and I was away from home.

“Hopefully I am over it now and it's all about staying fit and doing well for Hibs.”

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