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Dundee boss James McPake hails ‘hungry’ new signing Niall McGinn as he closes in on fresh additions

New Dundee signing Niall McGinn and manager James McPake (inset). Credit: David Young Photography; SNS.
New Dundee signing Niall McGinn and manager James McPake (inset). Credit: David Young Photography; SNS.

Niall McGinn is “hungry to come and play” for Dundee after ending almost a decade at Aberdeen says Dens boss James McPake.

The Dark Blues gaffer made the 34-year-old Northern Ireland international his third signing of the January transfer window.

And the 34-year-old is in line to make his debut for the club in Wednesday’s crunch bottom-of-the-table clash with St Johnstone.

In his time at Pittodrie, punctuated by a spell with South Korean side Gwangju in 2017, he made 358 league appearances for the Dons, scoring 87 goals.

However, game time had been limited this season under Stephen Glass with only two starts and seven substitute outings for McGinn.

International ambition

Niall McGinn has played 67 times for Northern Ireland.

McPake is a former international colleague of McGinn and the Dundee boss says the winger’s ambition to add to his 67 caps is what fuelled the desire to swap Pittodrie for Dens Park.

“He’s a player I played against and he is still in every Northern Ireland squad,” McPake said.

“He’s got 67 caps for his country and I know him very well.

“I still believe he has a lot to offer. He is desperate to continue to play.

“He had other options but is desperate to stay in the Premiership to stay in that international squad.

“We need competition in the wide areas. Luke McCowan and Paul McMullan do a great job but we need people to push them on so they aren’t too comfortable.

Luke McCowan (right) celebrates with Paul McMullan after scoring against Ross County.

“We need competition all over the pitch.

“He’s still super fit, a top professional and a real goal threat.”

Summer bid

McPake revealed the Dark Blues attempted to bring in McGinn before the season began as Dundee prepared for their return to the top flight.

“We tried to get him in the summer but Aberdeen decided it wasn’t happening so when this chance came up I jumped at it,” the Dundee manager added.

“He made an impact against us coming on up at Aberdeen (in December).

“He caused us real problems that day.

“Niall wants to play football. He’s been a great servant to Aberdeen and has been really successful.

“He’s hungry to come and play.

“We’re delighted to have him added to the squad.”

More additions?

Meanwhile, McPake is still working on improving his backline after being frustrated in his search to add a central defender.

The Dark Blues have the worst defence in the division and will be without their first-choice centre-back Lee Ashcroft until around March time.

But the Dens boss insists he is close to getting a new defender over the line.

He added: “We are working ever so hard to bring people in and there are a couple that are close.

“One of them is a centre-back who will really help us.”

 

Dundee boss James McPake talks manager pressure as he prepares for ‘crucial’ clash with Callum Davidson’s St Johnstone

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