McGinn the fan becomes Niall the scorer


Niall McGinn’s joy at his first Celtic goal was obvious to all on Saturday as the ball hit the back of the Kilmarnock net.

The 22-year-old from County Tyrone has forced his way into Tony Mowbray’s squad this season and made a favourable impression on the support with his pace and direct approach to taking on defenders.

In any circumstances scoring your first goal for a club is a special feeling but for the dwindling band of supporters to have graduated into the first team it must be extra special.

Aiden McGeady was fortunate enough to score on his Celtic debut against Hearts in 2004 but there weren’t many friendly faces celebrating when his shot hit the net.

A few months after McGeady’s debut goal Alan Thompson, what a surprise, sent in a stinging shot that bamboozled Stefan Klos as it bent and swerved it’s way over the German into the goal.

Behind Klos celebrating was the teenage McGinn, jumping for joy as his first visit to Celtic Park ended in victory to give him something to celebrate all the way home and no doubt through the next week or two.

After scoring his first Celtic goal against Kilmarnock at the weekend McGinn was happy to recall the emotions that he felt as a fan celebrating one of Thompson’s many goals against Rangers.

McGinn recalled: “I’ll never forget the first time I watched a match at Celtic Park, I was sitting behind the goal when Alan Thompson scored a late winner against Rangers.

“I was going mad after that goal so it was special to score my first Celtic goal at the same end then share the celebrations with the supporters.

“I’d thought about my celebrations, I had a few planned but just ran over to the crowd and kissed the badge.

“I grew up supporting Celtic. When I came back to the halfway line I put my hand up to my mother and father who were in the Players’ Lounge watching me.

“When I got back to the changing room after the match there was a lot of messages and missed calls on my phone, the support that I’m getting from back home is unbelievable. There is a big following from my area for Celtic and everyone seems interested in how I’m getting on.

“A lot of people give up time to travel over from Ireland to watch Celtic. It was my dream as a boy to play here and I loved coming over for games.

“I know what it’s like to be a supporter, to be playing for Celtic is very special and I like to give something back to the people that are travelling over from Ireland.”

Evening Herald interview with Niall McGinn

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