Belfast Telegraph

I feared injury had ruined my Northern Ireland Euros dream, says Josh Magennis

By Gavin McCafferty

Josh Magennis admits he feared for his Euro 2016 hopes as he returned from a hamstring problem to help Kilmarnock's bid to stay in the Scottish Premiership.

But the Northern Ireland star would not have been able to live with himself if he pulled out to protect his international dream.

Magennis had to sit out the 1-0 first-leg defeat but the risk paid off as the forward set up two goals as Killie beat Falkirk 4-0 at Rugby Park on Sunday and his hamstring withstood the test before he went off with fatigue with 15 minutes remaining.

When asked whether he was worried about missing the Euros after picking up the injury, Magennis said: "If I say no it's a blatant lie. I had that in the back of my mind, but it was vital that we kept Kilmarnock in the Premiership. It was not only our own jobs, but the backroom staff and other jobs were at risk.

"I couldn't abandon Kilmarnock and think everything was going to be cushty for the Euros.

"I made sure I was fit and the physios helped get me right and I'm glad it paid off."

Magennis played his part in Northern Ireland reaching their first major tournament in 30 years but relegation would have put a dampener on things.

"I would have gone into a team full of absolute superstar players and you don't want to go on a downer," he added.

"You start questioning yourself: do you deserve to be here after your team has been relegated?

"Even though it's been a hard season and we had to do it via the play-offs, staying up, and the way we stayed up, was fantastic."

Belfast Telegraph