Preston North End boss salutes on-loan winger Josh Ginnelly’s efforts at Hearts

Preston boss Alex Neil revealed he took great pride and pleasure in the performance of Josh Ginnelly against Celtic in the Scottish Cup final on Sunday.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd December 2020, 8:00 am

The North End winger is currently at Scottish Championship side Hearts after joining the Edinburgh outfit on a season-long loan in September.

The 21-year-old came on as a 57th-minute substitute at Hampden Park and played a starring role as the Jambos pushed the current Scottish champions all the way.

Trailing 2-1, Ginnelly provided the assist for Stephen Kingsley to equalise from a corner in the 67th minute and then scored in extra time as Hearts drew level once more to make the score 3-3.

Josh Ginnelly (centre) was on target for Hearts in the Scottish Cup final against Celtic

Unfortunately for Ginnelly and his team-mates, they were unable to see the job through as the Bhoys ran out winners 4-3 on penalties.

With players of the calibre of Tom Barkhuizen and Scott Sinclair ahead of him in the pecking order in his position, Neil would not reveal whether he sees a future for the youngster at Deepdale beyond next summer when his contract runs out.

However, the PNE boss was happy to see his charge make an impact in such a high-profile game.

“I think Josh does what he does,” said Neil, who signed the former Burnley Under-23s player from Walsall nearly two years ago and encouraged him to take up the opportunity of playing north of the border.

“He holds his width, he’s quick and direct and gets in behind.

“He’s dangerous and can do well for Hearts and is doing well for Hearts, so I am really pleased for him.”

Meanwhile, Neil believes his team should head to Derby County on Boxing Day with confidence high. North End picked up their third home win of the season on Friday when they secured a hard-fought victory over Bristol City at Deepdale.

That followed a narrow loss at Barnsley the previous Tuesday – a match Neil felt his men deserved at least a point from after taking an early lead through Sean Maguire.

On the whole, PNE have done well on their travels and currently sit joint fourth in the Championship table for points collected on their travels.

It i a fact which bodes well for their clash against Wayne Rooney’s Rams – especially as they have already been successful at Pride Park this season, winning 2-1 in the Carabao Cup

“I thought against Barnsley, it wasn’t a fair result on the game,” said Neil. “I thought we were very good, especially first half, and probably should have put the game to bed. So it was pleasing to get the win at home against Bristol City and it was a merited one.”