Michael O'Neill staying for play-offs 'more unrealistic with time' - McGinn

Niall McGinn
Northern Ireland were originally set to face Bosnia-Herzegovina on 26 March

Niall McGinn believes Michael O'Neill staying to take charge of Northern Ireland's Euro play-off will become more 'unrealistic' with time.

NI's match against Bosnia-Herzegovina has been postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19 fears.

The IFA has indicated they would still like O'Neill to remain in charge for the play-off.

"As time goes on, it's probably going to be unrealistic that Michael stays in charge," said McGinn.

McGinn, who has won the majority of his 58 Northern Ireland caps under O'Neill, believes the 50-year-old deserves a send-off befitting of his eight-year reign at Windsor Park.

Leading the Green and White Army to their first European Championships in 2016 remains O'Neill's biggest achievement, but McGinn hopes the former Shamrock Rovers boss gets his chance to rubber-stamp a second successful qualifying campaign.

"We obviously want Michael to be there," added the Aberdeen wide man.

"I think him more than anyone deserves a huge send-off and what a send-off it would be to qualify for another major tournament.

"He's been there before with us and what an unbelievable achievement that was, for the coaching staff and the players, and it meant so much to the fans, so to see Michael get another opportunity to take us to another major tournament would be brilliant."

O'Neill deserves 'a huge send off' - McGinn

The postponement of NI's play-off with Bosnia, which was originally scheduled for 26 March, was a source of frustration for McGinn, who feels he was showing form at a crucial stage of both the domestic and international season.

"Personally, I felt I was playing well, scoring goals, creating chances and I was really enjoying my football," he added.

"We had a busy schedule, so I was feeling fit. Even looking back at the last time I played against Bosnia, it was one of my best games for Northern Ireland.

"I was really looking forward to it and, as a group of players, we're obviously massively disappointed."

McGinn 'over the moon' for Kenny

While O'Neill has been a major figure in McGinn's international career, newly appointed Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny played a key role in his early development at club level.

Kenny gave McGinn his first taste of full-time football when he signed him for Derry City from Dungannon Swifts in January 2008.

McGinn flourished under Kenny before signing for Celtic in 2009 and said he is "over the moon" to see his former boss succeed Mick McCarthy at the Aviva Stadium.

"He was a massive help in my career," explained McGinn.

"In my time there, he put his arm around my shoulder. The first month or two, it was quite hard for me, I was going into full-time football and I was heading home quite a bit and he put his arm around me and I ended up staying in Derry. I moved into an apartment and started to enjoy my football and he gave me confidence.

"He was huge. His man-management skills were second-to-none. Although he's gone to the Republic, I want him to do well and it would be good to see him go on and do great things."

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