‘I know where he is going to deliver the ball’ says Aberdeen’s Rooney on McGinn second sight

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney celebrates.

Striker Adam Rooney has warned Scottish defences Niall McGinn’s Dons return will help him hit the goal trail.

Penalty-box predator Rooney forged a second sight of where McGinn will cross the ball in the winger’s first spell at Aberdeen.

Now McGinn is back at Pittodrie on a long-term deal, that connection is still there.

Rooney insists McGinn will set up the chances – and he will convert them.

That continues on Sunday in Scottish Cup fifth round action against Dundee United at Pittodrie.

Rooney said: “With the type of delivery Niall produces it makes it a lot easier for me to make a run across the defenders as I know where he is going to put it. That is the understanding we have built up over the last couple of years.

“I know where he is going to deliver the ball and Niall knows I am going to be on the end of it.

“It is just an understanding.

“For me personally it is great to have Niall back but for the whole squad it is brilliant.

“He is a brilliant addition and probably the top signing we could have made in this window.

“Niall is as good as we could have hoped for.”

McGinn returned at the start of the January transfer window on a deal until summer 2021.

He had turned down a new contract at the end of last season and eventually moved to South Korea.

After McGinn left Gwangju, Dons boss Derek McInnes secured his return.

Having undergone hernia surgery in early December the Northern Ireland cap continued his rehabilitation at the winter training camp in Dubai.

He made his Dons return as a second-half substitute in the 4-1 Scottish Cup win over St Mirren.

McGinn has subsequently scored two superb goals and also pitched in with three assists.

The understanding between Rooney and the winger was evident in the 4-2 defeat of Ross County in Dingwall.

Rooney anticipated where McGinn would cross into the box and met the delivery on the run to smack a first-time shot into the net.

Now on 10 goals for the season after a double in Dingwall, Rooney said: “You can see the quality Niall has.

“When he left last summer the assists that Niall had racked up were unbelievable.

“People talked about the number of goals Niall scored (70 for Aberdeen) but the assists he has are probably double that.

“Since he has been back in the last couple of games he has already racked up a couple again.

“You know when Niall is in that wide area he is going to deliver real quality from out there.”

Rooney is now on the 87-goal mark and closing in on the century club.

Aberdeen go into the weekend’s Scottish Cup action on the back of a three-game Premiership winning streak.

That moved the Reds six points ahead of third-placed Rangers, who are now still three behind, and narrowed the gap on leaders Celtic to eight.

For now the focus is on the cup derby and Rooney will not underestimate the Championship side’s threat.

He said: “We knew if we won the three league games coming up we would be sitting in second spot going into the cup game.

“Everyone at the club knows what we have to do as a group and we just have to focus on each game as it comes.

“We have done that for the last couple of years now.”

Aberdeen hope to have striker Stevie May back in contention for Sunday’s clash.

May has missed the previous four games with an ankle injury.

He returned to training late last week and boss McInnes hoped to step up his involvement this week.

Keeper Joe Lewis is set to be out for between two to three months having undergone surgery last week on knee ligament damage.