Ruaidhri Higgins delighted to bolster Derry City with addition of ex-Celtic and Dundee winger Paul McMullan

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DERRY CITY has a rich legacy when it comes to talented and exciting wingers and Ruaidhri Higgins is confident he's captured the signature of another in new signing Paul McMullan.

The 27 year-old joined the Brandywell club on a long term deal this week and the Scotsman already knows all about some of Derry's finest wingers in recent years having played briefly alongside Niall McGinn at Dundee and Michael Duffy at Celtic while he trained alongside James McClean last week.

He prides himself in being a footballer who is 'exciting to watch' and he's eager to conjure up assists and goals when he's cleared to play from July 1st onwards. And he admits he’s learned a thing or two from playing alongside current Glentoran winger McGinn while at Dens Park.

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"We played for maybe around a year together and to be fair he was really good in helping me with wee bits and pieces of advice obviously with his experience it's always nice to have a winger who is a bit senior and can give you a couple of bits and bobs that will help improve your game.”

It's a significant coup for Higgins who believes Derry can offer him a platform to shine and the City supremo has been impressed by his commitment to the club so far having relocated to Derry with his young family. He first saw him play in the Victory Shield for Scotland as a youth and he's delighted to bring him to Derry in his prime.

"It's great," beamed Higgins. "Our supporters have watched a lot of talented wingers over the years since as long as I can ever remember. Derry have always had good wingers. So he's another one to the list.

"There's a good history of Scottish players doing well here as well. Matt Ward and Ollie O'Neill have left the squad so we needed another wide player in the group and we've managed to secure a very, very good one."

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He arrives on Foyleside with a rich pedigree and on the back of a significant success with Dundee who won promotion to the SPL last season. Higgins worked wonders in securing his signature with a little help from McMullan's former teammate Mark Connolly, as the player had more than a couple of options on the table following the expiration of his contract with the Dark Blues.

New signing Paul McMullan pictured with Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2326GS – 001New signing Paul McMullan pictured with Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2326GS – 001
New signing Paul McMullan pictured with Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins. Photo: George Sweeney. DER2326GS – 001

"Paul's a really talented player in his prime years now," continued Higgins. "I think he brings so much quality in terms of goals and assists. He was a Scottish Championship player of the year nominee the season just finished. So that shows the quality that he has. Having spoken to a lot of people about him, on and off the pitch, he fits the bill perfectly here.

"I think Paul is quite friendly with Mark Connolly and Mark was able to fill him in about what it's like here and stuff. He fancied something different. He's been in Scotland a long time and fancied a change. His partner Keavagh has a lot of family in Donegal. Playing European football which he's never experienced before so all those things have added up to him coming here. Hopefully very quickly we get to see what a talent he is.

"We can give players a bit of longevity and security," he added. "What I would say about Paul is, he's shown unbelievable commitment. He's got a three month old boy, a partner and they've moved here right away which is a serious commitment. He's buying into what we're trying to do. He's going to be based here and I love that.

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"It was the same with Mark Connolly who moved the family here and I think if you want to be a real success here then that's the key and he's shown that commitment which I think is really important. It shows that he wants to be part of the club on and off the pitch."

His arrival bolsters Higgins' attacking ranks following the departure of Matt Ward and Ollie O'Neill and increases competition on the wing to rival Ryan Graydon and Duffy.

"Matt Ward has gone back to Ipswich, Ollie O'Neill has gone back to Fulham. We have a few attacking players out injured at the minute and you saw how youthful our bench was on Friday in terms of a lot of 16 or 17 year-olds on the bench. We have a few injuries at the minute and because the two boys have gone back, we're a wee bit light in terms of attacking players. He fits the bill and he can play right across. He can play either side which is great, he's got that flexibility. He's extremely talented and we'll give him the platform to show people what he's made of."

So how will he enhance Higgins' Derry squad?

"He's sharp as a tack. Can go inside or outside. He delivers good crosses, can score goals and picks up clever positions. I actually remember watching him playing in the Victory Shield when he was 14 or 15 year-old. I remembered him. He was at Celtic as a young boy and is really, really talented. We're just delighted to have him here. On and off the pitch, he fits the bill. He's a great lad. He wants something different, wants to do well and be a success here.

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"Fingers crossed if he doesn't pick up anything between here and then (he will be involved against Sligo on July 7th) but he's training away and is fit as a fiddle. Games are different I know that but he's got a good base to work from. We look forward to getting him on the pitch."