The forward’s 96th-minute goal that sealed Northern Ireland’s 2-0 win over Ukraine on Thursday has made for the very real possibility that Michael O’Neill’s side could reach the knockout stages in their first European Championship. If they are still involved come the last 16 encounters next weekend – and they probably require to take something against Germany on Tuesday for that to happen – it would surely preclude McGinn featuring for Aberdeen in the Europa League first round qualifier the following Thursday, 30 June, and the second leg seven days later.
The draw for the first two rounds takes place on Monday, and even the second round ties on 14 and 21 July might be too early for McGinn.
Compensation for Aberdeen would come in the form of a near £100,000 Uefa payment they would be due for McGinn’s participation. A similar sum will be banked by Hamilton Accies for providing Northern Ireland keeper Michael McGovern and Kilmarnock for Josh Magennis. Yet, though such recompense is not inconsiderable, Brown’s pleasure over the Euro impact of McGinn, whom he signed for Aberdeen when manager, is that he considers it payback for the professionalism of the 28-year-old.
“If Northern Ireland qualify we certainly won’t have Niall,” said Brown. “I think Derek [McInnes, Aberdeen boss] was aware of that. It’s a blow and it’s counter-productive to the club’s hopes of success.
“But no-one at Aberdeen would begrudge him success. Derek wouldn’t and the chairman [Stewart Milne] wouldn’t, nobody would. We support success and you couldn’t find a nicer boy. He trains the way he plays and never complains. If you played him in the hole he’d go there without complaint. Play him at left-back or right-back and he’d get on with it. He is a model player and Aberdeen won’t be the only club who will suffer with players being away at the Euros.
“I had a text from Niall saying ‘what a feeling it was.’ I was pleased for Josh Magennis as well, because we had him at Aberdeen and they’re both great boys.”