Niall Quinn programme article

Posted : 14th July 2017

When the draw for the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds was made, the prospect of Linfield landing a glamorous encounter with Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic excited many, particularly Linfield’s left sided midfielder Niall Quinn who grew up supporting the Hoops.

The 23 year-old says preparations are going well after a lot of hard work, since returning to pre-season training six weeks ago.

“Pre-season has been as tough as it always has been but the boys have worked hard in the past couple of weeks to get fit for these Champions League games and I think we’re in good condition, ahead of the Celtic match.”

Quinn couldn’t contain his excitement when he spoke to ‘Look at Linfield’ earlier in the week and says he is relishing the challenge of trying to get a result against Celtic who will no doubt be the favourites. It is expected to be the biggest crowd that the Linfield Youth academy graduate has played in front of, in his career to date.

“It's a dream come true for myself, as it's no secret to the players and some supporters that I support Celtic but I'm taking it as I would with every other game. The squad will relish the challenge to test ourselves and we will be going out there to try and get a result against a quality team. I cannot wait to see a big crowd at Windsor Park with a great atmosphere and any footballer would be excited at playing in front of such a big crowd in Glasgow.”

“After last season’s achievements, I'm really looking forward to this year. We've enjoyed a break over the summer but can't wait to get going again and with the energy we’ll put into this tie, I think it’ll allow us to be at top fitness, ahead of the league season which is the bread and butter for us. A good run in Europe is a bonus and hopefully, we can give the fans a night to remember.”

Niall was an integral part of Linfield’s treble-winning team of last season and is hungry to do it all again and he believes a big part of his good performances have been due to the ‘inter-changeable’ relationship he and Matthew Clarke have formed down the left side.

“We’re coming off the back of a tremendous season. The past few months in particular have been brilliant for me personally, as the manager has integrated me into the left wing role which I've enjoyed. I think the fact that me and ‘Clarkey’ (Matthew Clarke) are quite inter-changeable on the left wing has allowed the boss to get the best out of the both of us and I'm hoping we can continue our form into this upcoming season.”

The mood in the camp is good and Niall says the trips to Wales to play Bala Town in a friendly and to San Marino where we overcame a tough test from La Fiorita in the first qualifying round have helped settle in the new signings.

“The trips away to Bala and San Marino have been extremely beneficial to the players, as you spend more time with the lads which improves team chemistry. It also helps the new lads gel into the group, which I think each and every one of them have done.”

‘Look at Linfield’ would like to wish Niall all the best for the upcoming season, starting tonight against Celtic in what’s sure to be a magical evening at an atmospheric Windsor Park, with a large Linfield backing from the stands and hopefully, a positive scoreline to go with it.
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