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McGinn up for Bhoys bench not fan bus

Niall McGinn is hoping to make the transition from punter to player tomorrow when Celtic face Rangers at Ibrox.

The former Derry City winger is likely to get a place on the bench when Tony Mowbray names his side for the lunchtime clash that could take Celtic seven points clear of Rangers.

Last December, just before his transfer to Parkhead, McGinn travelled to Ibrox on a supporters bus from Coatbridge and enjoyed Scott McDonald's winning goal as much as any Celtic fan.

The winger from Donaghmore has appeared as a substitute in Celtic's last five games and would love to be involved in the biggest match in the Scottish game.

McGinn admitted: "It will be unbelievable to be involved. I'm really looking forward to the match and it'll be an absolute bonus if I can make the bench.

"The U21 rule works against me so I don't know what's likely to happen. We'll find out the team and substitutes on Sunday and I'd love to be involved.

"Last season I travelled to Ibrox with my agent on a supporters bus, it was good to see the other side of it, to get a feeling for the supporters and see what an Old Firm game really means to the Celtic fans.

"It was great to be in there among them and I was jumping about and cheering with everyone else when Scott McDonald scored the goal."



REIGN

Despite signing in January McGinn never made any appearances for Gordon Strachan and looked to be an outsider in the early days of Tony Mowbray's reign.

That all changed in Mowbray's eighth game of the season when he was given a surprise start against Dundee United and took the chance with both hands picking up the man-of-the-match award in a text vote from supporters.

McGinn's pace gives Mowbray an extra option from the bench with the 22-year-old looking to convince his gaffer that he is ready to become a first-team starter.

"Everything has gone well for me recently," McGinn added. "The manager has given me a few opportunities, he's brought me on several times as a substitute.

"I've got to keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully more opportunities will come my way till I get to the stage where I'm playing week in week out.

"Any chance that I get I have to take, I have to impress the manager every minute that I'm on the pitch and make the most of every chance.

"There's a good camaraderie among the players and we're looking forward to the game with Rangers.

"The team is gelling together under the new manager and getting used to his style of play, by the time that we get to Ibrox we will be more than ready."


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