Aberdeen re­signed to let­ting McGinn skip Europa League qual­i­fiers

The Herald - Herald Sport - - EURO 2016 - STEWART FISHER

CRAIG BROWN has ac­knowl­edged that North­ern Ire­land’s gain will be Aberdeen’s loss, with Niall McGinn set to be ex­cused from the Pit­to­drie club’s open­ing Europa League qual­i­fier should his coun­try make the last 16.

Brown, a non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Pit­to­drie, signed McGinn for the Dons fol­low­ing his time at Celtic and was de­lighted to see him score his coun­try’s clinch­ing goal against Ukraine on Thurs­day. The only prob­lem is that pro­long­ing his stay in France would mean the for­ward will be granted leave and un­avail­able for the club’s first Euro­pean qual­i­fy­ing tie on June 30.

“If North­ern Ire­land qual­ify, we won’t have Niall,” said Brown. “I think Derek was aware of that. It’s a blow and it’s counter-pro­duc­tive to the club’s hopes of suc­cess.

“But no one at Aberdeen would be­grudge him suc­cess,” he added. “Derek wouldn’t and the chair­man wouldn’t, no­body would. We sup­port suc­cess and you couldn’t find a nicer boy. He trains the way he plays and never com­plains.

“He is a model player and Aberdeen won’t be the only club who will suf­fer with play­ers be­ing away at the Euros. When you sign in­ter­na­tional play­ers it’s al­ways a risk.”

Brown, who also worked with Josh Ma­gen­nis, who sup­plied him with the chance, has al­ready been in con­tact with the striker.

“I had a text from Niall say­ing ‘what a feel­ing it was’,” said Brown. “You saw that be­cause he nor­mally doesn’t be­have the way he did af­ter that goal against Ukraine. McGinn is usu­ally quite mod­er­ate in his cel­e­bra­tion and he has scored a lot of goals for Aberdeen. I have never seen him wave his arms about like that. I was pleased for Josh Ma­gen­nis as well, be­cause we had him at Aberdeen and they are both great boys.”

Aberdeen started pre-sea­son train­ing this week, with new sign­ings in the form of goal­keep­ers Joe Lewis and Neil Alexan­der, and for­mer Dundee United cen­tre half Cal­lum Mor­ris. As im­por­tant as that, Brown feels, for next sea­son is keep­ing hold of star per­form­ers such as McGinn, Adam Rooney, Jonny Hayes, Ryan Jack, Kenny McLean and Peter Pawlett.

“When I went, we got money for sell­ing six play­ers,” said Brown. “We sold Aluko be­cause the bank was say­ing at that time they were morally obliged to tell them if they got an of­fer for a player. Next to go was Chris Maguire and Richard Foster. We lost Fraser Fyvie to Wi­gan, Jack Grim­mer went young and the one that broke our hearts was Ryan Fraser, when we sold him to Bournemouth when we were sec­ond in the league.

“Now if he wants to keep them he keeps them,” he added. “Although Derek is first to ad­mit that if a big of­fer comes in for a young player to go to a big club to im­prove his ca­reer, he is not go­ing to be self­ish and stand in his way. He will clearly hope he can keep the team in­tact, but you wouldn’t hold a guy back if, for ar­gu­ment’s sake, a big of­fer came in for [Peter] Pawlett or [Ryan] Jack. I’m glad there haven’t been more bids for play­ers.”

Pic­ture: Getty

GOAL HERO: Niall McGinn struck for North­ern Ire­land against Ukraine.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.