Niall McGinn: Aberdeen in good shape to rise to stronger challenge

Niall McGinn scored his first goal of the season to earn Aberdeen a draw at McDiarmid Park
Niall McGinn scored his first goal of the season to earn Aberdeen a draw at McDiarmid Park

Niall McGinn says there is much more to come from him and Aberdeen this season.

The winger's free kick earned the Dons a point at St Johnstone on Saturday, a result that leaves them nine points behind early pace-setters Hearts.

Derek McInnes's side have won just once in the league - against bottom side Dundee - but McGinn believes there are signs they are beginning to recapture the form that has earned them second place in the past four seasons.

"As a team we're probably just needing that run of two or three games on the bounce when we're winning and hopefully then we can kick on," he told BBC Scotland.

"It's still early days but we want to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible."

Aside from Hearts, all of Aberdeen's traditional rivals have dropped points at the start of this campaign, including second-placed Celtic who sit four points ahead of the Dons in eighth.

"It's difficult," acknowledged McGinn. "The teams are getting stronger. Hearts have obviously started the season very well, Rangers are stronger, Celtic, who'll always be there and ourselves and Hibs. It's just getting that consistency.

"We've got to just keep improving as a team and show others we're still among the best in the league as we have been for the past few years.

"The strength in depth is there in the squad. We've shown in previous years there's always competition for places."

Gary Mackay-Steven's dynamic dribbling run won the free-kick against St Johnstone that McGinn curled past Zander Clark and the scorer's appreciation of his fellow winger is clear.

"Once Gaz gets going, he's a hard man to stop," he said. "To have him in full flow, myself getting involved and creating chances for the strikers is always a positive. If we keep doing that and keep creating, more often than not we're going to win games."

As for the sumptuous free kick, he added: "I have been practising them. Against Kilmarnock I was very close with one. On a personal note I was just delighted to get my first goal of the season.

"I think it's been a wee bit stop-start for myself, I've picked up wee niggly injuries. I played in the Burnley games and felt great in them and then I've come back and picked up wee niggles. But going away with the Northern Ireland team, I got a start in the Nations League, which was a massive boost and I've just taken confidence from that."

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