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Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn: ‘Derek McInnes sealed my return’

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes celebrates with goalscorer Niall McGinn.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes celebrates with goalscorer Niall McGinn.

Niall McGinn insists Dons boss Derek McInnes was the major reason he opted to return to Aberdeen for a second spell.

McGinn brought his five-year spell at Pittodrie to an end in the summer of 2017 when he swapped the Granite City for Gwangju in South Korea.

However, having decided to cut short his time in Korea and return to Scotland the chance to work with McInnes again ensured the Dons beat off competition from Hibs and Hearts for the Northern Ireland international.

He said: “The manager was a massive reason I returned to the club.

“Aberdeen is a place where I really enjoy my football, a place where I got my career back on track again which helped me get picked for Northern Ireland.

“The relationship with the fans also played a part. They have been brilliant with me since day one.

“Yes, I had other options and I spoke with other clubs. It was a decision I did not rush into, but after discussions with the manager and Tony (Docherty) it made my decision a lot easier.

“I have always had that trust with the manager. Even when I was in South Korea the manager kept in contact with me and I really appreciated that.”

McGinn was at Aberdeen when McInnes arrived in 2013.

McGinn’s team-mate Andy Considine was out with a broken leg when McInnes arrived at Pittodrie seven years ago and the Dons winger is the sole survivor from the Dons boss’ first game in charge against Hibernian on April 22 2013.

McGinn said: “In Craig Brown’s last game in charge at Pittodrie we beat Hearts 2-0 and I scored both goals that day. The gaffer and Tony were in the stands watching, so I made a good early impression.

“I had a good season that campaign, despite the team struggling a bit. Everything seemed to come off for me.

“When you look back, we had good players, but were not getting the results. We had a lot of 0-0 draws. We also struggled because the pitch was not great.

“The manager knew what he was coming into. He knew he had some rebuilding to do but, as I say, he also knew that he had some good players there.

“That summer he brought Barry Robson and Willo Flood to the club. They were great signings, real winners with a big-game mentality.

Willo Flood.
Barry Robson.

“As well as bringing in a few players, the manager brought in his ideas and revamped everything.”

McGinn insists McInnes has left a lasting impression on the club as he celebrates his seven years at the helm.

He said: “My first season we were seventh or eighth with nothing to play for at the end of the campaign.

“Every season since then we are striving towards achieving things, whether that be challenging for the league, pushing for Europe or featuring in cup semi-finals or finals. We always have something to compete for”

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