ABERDEEN have won the race to sign former hero Niall McGinn until 2021.

The 30-year-old Northern Irishman became a free agent last month after his move to South Korean side Gwangju turned sour.

Hibernian also wanted McGinn but he choose to return Pittodrie where he was a hugely popular player during his first spell.

“Niall is a player I really enjoyed working with in the past so I was really keen to work with him again when the opportunity arose,” said Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

“I think he is a player who has always brought a high level of performance. Everyone from all the staff at the club, to his team mates, to the supporters, we will all welcome him back and we are looking forward to Niall picking up where he left off.

“He has been right up there in terms of goals and assists over the past five years. If he can replicate what he has done for us in the past then we will all be very pleased.

“Hopefully he can help us maintain the standards we have set.

“Being as good a player as Niall is, we were not his only option. It pleases us that he knew how happy he was here and I think that has played a big part in it. Niall knows he will be well received and I am sure the supporters will show that.

“He is a very popular lad around the club and his team mates recognise the standard of player we have got. It is not easy to bring in someone in January, or at any time for that matter, with 50 odd international caps to your club.

“Some players and clubs are a good fit for each other and I think that is certainly the case with Niall and Aberdeen.

“He has signed a long term deal because he wants to settle down in Aberdeen. He wanted that longevity in his contract. We are going to enjoying working with Niall over the next few years.”