Niall McGinn has come back a revitalised player from the tired one who left Aberdeen at the end of last season.
That is the view of Dons manager Derek McInnes, who has been impressed with McGinn’s contributions since he returned to the side and saw him net the first goal of his second spell in Saturday’s 3-0 win against Hamilton at Pittodrie.
The Northern Ireland international left for South Korea last summer but cut short his time in the Far East in October after a lack of first-team opportunities at K League side Gwangju United.
McInnes brought him back to Pittodrie on a three-and-a-half year deal and McGinn has hit the ground running, following up an impressive display at Dingwall with his goal against Accies.
The Dons are seeing the benefit of a recharged and happier player, according to McInnes. He said: “It’s a more vibrant Niall McGinn than we had towards the end last time he was here. He gave us brilliant service but looked a tired player.
“He maybe didn’t need the kind of break he intended in South Korea but he’s come back with a real energy and focus. He’s a happy boy as well. It’s hard to tell when Niall is happy but I’ve seen him smile a lot more since he’s come back. He certainly looks in a good place. He can be the difference for us in tight games with his quality from open play and set-pieces, as well as his goal threat. Niall will get his fair share. He’s the first signing we’ve had to get up to speed but without doubt he’s a huge player for me.”
McGinn’s finish came in between two goals from Andrew Considine and McInnes had some special words of thanks for one of the team’s unsung heroes. Considine trebled his goal tally for the season against relegation-threatened Hamilton, with his only other effort coming against Motherwell in September.
McInnes said: “Sometimes people don’t appreciate what Andy does for us. Every team has players who are more heroes than others but he is invaluable to me. People in football see the benefit of having Andy there and I’m pleased he gets a bit of recognition with his goals.”