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Niall McGinn desperate for Aberdeen to reach Europe under own steam this season

The Dons are in a battle with Motherwell for the Premiership's third spot.
The Dons are in a battle with Motherwell for the Premiership's third spot.

Aberdeen winger Niall McGinn is determined to avoid needing help from elsewhere to secure European football for a seventh season in a row.

Last season, due to their fourth place finish, the Dons were left relying on Celtic beating Hearts in the Scottish Cup final before they could take their place in the Europa League.

Motherwell’s 1-0 win at Pittodrie on Wednesday means Aberdeen have slipped four points behind the Steelmen in the race for third place and with 16 games remaining McGinn knows how important securing European football again is for his club.

He said: “European football is massively important for us as a club and a group of players and we want to achieve that. We won’t be going down without a fight of achieving European football again.

“Even when I first came through the door, it took us a year or two to get European football.

“It is where the players want to be playing. I really enjoy it and the rest of the players and fans enjoy it as well. It’s the games we want to be involved in.

“We don’t want to lose that lightly and we’ll put up a fight between now and the end of the season to get that European football again which we all want.

“We want to stay in the Scottish Cup for as long as possible as well. With a wee bit of luck along the away, who knows? But regarding European football, we’re all striving towards that.”

Aberdeen lost 1-0 in Paisley earlier in the campaign.

Aberdeen’s poor showing at Pittodrie was not the way anyone at the Dons wanted to start their return to Premiership duty in 2020 and with a trip to St Mirren, who beat the Dons 1-0 in Paisley in August, looming on Sunday, Northern Ireland international McGinn knows his team must respond.

He said: “It is going to be a long second half of the season. We are still in the Scottish Cup and we want to keep on the tail of Motherwell. They have gone ahead but we need to get back as quickly as possible.

“I think being at Aberdeen, we just want the next game to get going as quickly as possible. Every game we go into we want to win.

“We know it’s a busy schedule at the moment and St Mirren will be difficult. They obviously beat us down there the last time and hopefully we can go there and rectify that disappointing result.

“We’ve been in these positions before where we’ve lost games and been disappointed but we’ve always bounced back. We’ll be looking to do that on Sunday.

“It is a must-win game and we’ll be going there trying to get three points.”

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