Evening Express

Aberdeen’s McGinn calls on army of fans to help them beat Burnley in Europa League

Niall McGinn in action for Aberdeen

Winger Niall McGinn believes the 2,400 strong travelling Red Army can inspire the Dons to a Battle of Britain triumph.

The Dons face English Premier League Burnley at Turf Moor in the Europa League second qualifying round second leg.

Having drawn 1-1 at a sell-out Pittodrie in the first leg, Aberdeen must score on Thursday to have any hope of progressing.

Turf Moor is unlikely to be a sellout for the Euro tie as ticket sales for home fans have been sluggish, with the Clarets expecting a crowd of around 17,000 at the 21,401 capacity stadium.

That could make the Red Army’s presence effective, and McGinn urged travelling Dons fans to raise the roof at Turf Moor to aid their battle to set up a clash with Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in the next round.

He said: “We are going to need our fans at Turf Moor and we aim to give them a big performance in response.

“Our supporters are travelling down in their numbers to support us down in Burnley.

“They always get right behind us and give us their backing and we are going to need them in the second leg to help us get the result we need at Turf Moor.

“I have to give a big shout out to our fans, who were excellent at Pittodrie in the first leg from the first minute to the last.

“Even when Burnley scored they kept singing, so big credit.”

Thursday’s second leg will be broadcast live on BT Sport.

McGinn knows Aberdeen and the standard of Scottish football, often much maligned south of the border, will be under scrutiny.

He said: “When we drew Burnley we knew it would be a very tough ask to get past them.

“However, we have proven we are capable of creating chances and causing them problems.

“We have to take confidence from the first leg performance at Pittodrie as we took the lead.

“In the first leg we had them on the back foot at times and we had some good moments in the game.

“Burnley will probably think they can cause us problems as well. After the first leg we have dusted ourselves down, trained well and are travelling to Burnley with confidence.

“It is only half time in the tie and we will go to Turf Moor ready to give a good account of ourselves.”

McGinn missed the Dons’ European campaign last season as he had signed for Gwangju in the South Korean K League.

Aberdeen knocked out Siroki Brijeg of Bosnia to reach the third qualifying round where they fell to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.

The winger returned to Pittodrie in January on a three-and-a-half-year contract after his Gwangju deal had been terminated by mutual consent.

McGinn admits he missed the excitement of European nights.

He said: “As a professional footballer, when you are at a club like Aberdeen, these are the games you want to be involved in.

“Although we didn’t get the win, it was a great night at Pittodrie.”

The winger is a Euro veteran having starred on the continent for the Reds and with former club Celtic.

In contrast, Dons boss Derek McInnes fielded several players in the starting 11 against Burnley who were making their European debuts.

They were Sam Cosgrove, Mikey Devlin, Lewis Ferguson, Dominic Ball and Watford defender Tommie Hoban, who arrived on loan less than 36 hours before kick-off.

Striker Cosgrove, a £20,000 signing in January from Carlisle United, won the penalty to put the Dons 1-0 up.

McGinn said: “Big Sam is a handful and a great asset to the team.

“For wide players like myself and Gary (Mackay-Steven) we know if we can get to the by-line and get crosses in Sam is going to get on the end of it. He put in a great shift for us and got us up the pitch and won a few headers.

“Sam was playing against established Premier League defenders who are up against great strikers in the top flight in England every week.

“I was also delighted for Tommie (Hoban) as he only had one training session but went in and did very well.

“He didn’t look out of place, so congratulations to him and to those others who made their Euro debuts.

“Now they have the hunger for it they just have to kick on.”