NORTHERN Ireland goalscorer Niall McGinn was amazed at the part he played in his side’s surprise 1-1 World Cup qualifier draw against Portugal.
Before the match all the talk was of how Cristiano Ronaldo would celebrate winning his 100th cap but instead another winger, Donaghmore man McGinn, shone in Porto.
“It is just an unbelievable feeling to score against Portugal,” said Aberdeen star McGinn about his first international goal.
McGinn put the Irish ahead before Helder Postiga’s late equaliser.
“Coming from a small village in County Tyrone, as a fan admiring players like Ronaldo and Nani then having the chance to actually play against them is something else. Obviously to score against them that’s something else too,” added the Aberdeen player.
McGinn probably wouldn’t even have started in Porto but for injuries to Chris Brunt and Shane Ferguson.
The Tyrone man was unable to hold down a regular place at Celtic prior to his summer departure and has also been in and out of the Northern Ireland squad but has been in great for for Craig Brown’s Aberdeen so far this season.
Injuries have played their part in halting the 25-year-old’s progress but Tuesday’s result went some way to making up for his struggles.
“Quite honestly, I have been playing with a smile on my face,” he said.
“I’ve obviously come back from the injury problems I’ve had, have scored three in three with my club and I have been working really hard.
“I am enjoying life at the minute, so long may that continue.
“Definitely, moments like this are a way of paying off for all the hard work behind the scenes.”
Confidence flowing from his starring role on the internatioanl stage in midweek, McGinn was on target again on Saturday when his 53rd minute equaliser helped Aberdeen secure a 1-1 draw in their Scottish Premier League clash with Dundee United - and his strike helped extend Aberdeen’s unbeaten run to 11 games as they remain in third place in the table.