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McGINN’S WARNING TO CELTIC

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FORMER Celtic raider Niall McGinn has fired a Betfred League Cup Final warning to his old club as Aberdeen prepare for the Hampden clash tomorrow.

The 31-year-old Northern Ireland international winger insists the Dons will be very difficult to break down if they open the scoring against Brendan Rodgers’ men.

The Parkhead side beat the Pittodrie outfit in two Cup Final showdowns in season 2016/17 – 3-0 in the Betfred trophy and 2-1 in the Scottish Cup shoot-out when Tom Rogic claimed a stoppage-time winner.

On the latter occasion, Derek McInnes’ team had taken a shock ninth-minute lead through Jonny Hayes following a right-wing corner-kick.

However, the Hoops had an immediate response when Stuart Armstrong levelled two minutes later with a low drive that swept past the despairing Joe Lewis. Aussie international midfielder Rogic completed the fightback with his late killer goal.

But McGinn, who made 28 league appearances for Celtic in his three years after joining from Derry City in 2009, has promised it will be a different story this time around if he and his team-mates grab an advantage against the champions.

CLASH…Niall McGinn challenges Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor. Pic: Geo.

He said: “If we score first, it will be a big incentive and there are not many occasions in my time we’ve gone ahead and lost the game.

“We’ll need a wee bit of luck at times and will have to defend really well and Joe Lewis is probably going to have to pull off a few saves and we’ll have to be strong defensively.

“We need to defend from the front right through the midfield and any opportunities that come our way we’re going to do our best to take them.”

Looking ahead to the encounter, McGinn added: “I’m very relaxed and I’ve been quite fortunate to be involved in a few Finals now.

“I think I’ve started every Final apart from the 3-0 game, which was obviously disappointing.

“Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to play this time.”

* McGinn was speaking to the Aberdeen website.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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