DCSIMG

McGinn targets first Hampden appearance but wary of Motherwell form

Niall McGinn has targeted a William Hill Scottish Cup final appearance at Hampden this season, but knows an in-form Motherwell stand in Aberdeen’s way of progressing through 
today’s fourth-round tie at 
Pittodrie.

The Northern Ireland international came close to playing at the national stadium with former club Celtic, whom he left for the Dons in the summer, making the squad on a couple of occasions. Buoyed by eight goals for Aberdeen this season in an unfamiliar centre-forward role, the 25-year-old is looking to take the next step with Craig Brown’s side, although he is wary of Motherwell, who have won their past three away games.

“It is a period of transition for us. In a couple of years we want to be challenging for trophies on a regular basis, that is what the fans deserve,” said McGinn. “But it would be nice to get to Hampden this season, that is a personal goal of mine. I was in a few Celtic squads for semi-finals and finals but never got to play there so that would be extra special. I played in cup finals with Derry City and my first club Dungannon Swifts reached a cup final, although I was disappointed to be left out for that.

“It was disappointing to go out of the League Cup to St Mirren so we want to go as far as we can in this competition.

“But we can’t look past Motherwell. They are doing very well at the moment and come off a couple of great results against Inverness and Dundee United, so they will be on a high.”

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall, meanwhile, has total faith in second-choice goalkeeper Lee Hollis as he prepares to make his third appearance for the club today. Hollis will play for the first time in 14 months at Pittodrie after Darren Randolph was handed a two-match ban for his clash with Hearts striker Callum Paterson. The 24-year-old made his debut in a 4-0 defeat at Celtic Park six days before the teams met in the 2011 Scottish final and played in a victory over Clyde by the same scoreline in the Scottish Communities League Cup last season.

McCall said he had “100 per cent” confidence in the player for the fourth-round clash.

“Lee got a two-year deal in the summer and he has only played a couple of times for us,” the Fir Park manager said. “That’s how much faith we have in him. Every team I’ve been at, when you have eight-a-sides normally a team will want to be with the first-choice goalkeeper. For example at Rangers, you had Andy Goram and at half-time you didn’t want to change around.

“Here it doesn’t matter if Darren is in goal or Lee is in goal because Lee is excellent at shot-stopping. Lee has pushed Darren all the way, hence Darren’s consistency levels have been first class. He has an excellent temperament, I have no worries at all of him playing.

“Even at Parkhead, although we lost four goals it could have been eight or nine other than Lee, and he played against Clyde and was terrific as well.”

 

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