McGinn the cen­tu­rion just wants to rack up the caps

Evening Times - - SPORT - By NEIL CAMERON

THERE isn’t much John McGinn does these day which goes un-no­ticed but it would have es­caped most that the re­cent win over Dundee was his 100th league game in Scot­tish foot­ball’s top flight.

Not bad for a player who last month turned 23 and spent two sea­sons in the Cham­pi­onship with Hibernian. They will do well to hang onto their prize as­set beyond Jan­uary.

And if McGinn does see out this cam­paign in Leith, even a well-run club such as his won’t be able to turn down the first de­cent of­fer in the sum­mer – which should start at £2m – for a mid­fielder who if the vot­ing be­gan now would be one of the favourites for player of the year.

And while Scot­land’s friendly with Hol­land last week won’t linger long in the mem­ory, the per­for­mance of McGinn should have been noted to who­ever comes in as man­ager.

Scott Brown won’t last for­ever, prob­a­bly, and while there are plenty of good mid­field­ers about, McGinn has that ex­tra dig and naugh­ti­ness play­ers need to suc­ceed in the en­gine room of top class foot­ball.

McGinn’s at­ti­tude is spot-on as well, and the hope is the next man­ager makes this lad one of the key play­ers for the 2020 European Cham­pi­onship cam­paign.

“The Hol­land game was an op­por­tu­nity for me to show what I could do and, thank­fully, I man­aged to,” said McGinn.

“I want to try and keep my po­si­tion now and hold my own to­wards the start of the Euro 2020 cam­paign.

“There’s a lot of good mid­field­ers all des­per­ate to play for the coun­try and all I can do when I get called up is prove that I de­serve to be there.

“I’ve got to work harder than ev­ery­one else, stay fo­cused, hum­ble and be grate­ful to be in the squad along­side some great play­ers. If called up, I’ll be hon­oured and look to do the same.”

The fact is, McGinn should have played, along with Cal­lum McGre­gor, be­fore Barry Ban­nan and Dar­ren Fletcher. In­deed, given how well he’s per­formed over his five caps, it is one of the many won­ders of the Gor­don Stra­chan era he was not given more min­utes. And the player him­self re­spec­tively con­curs. “When peo­ple were call­ing for me and Cal­lum to get a chance in the last cam­paign I agreed with them,” said McGinn (in­set). “But I re­spected the man­ager’s de­ci­sion and had to be pa­tient and work hard. You al­ways have to get your head down and things fall into place. “Thank­fully I got the op­por­tu­nity against Hol­land and all I need to do now is fo­cus on play­ing well for Hibs and hope­fully get se­lected in the fu­ture. “I’ve got con­fi­dence in my abil­ity. Hibs are con­fi­dent in me. They let me go and play my foot­ball and Malky Mackay told me to carry that into Scot­land. “

Si­mon Mur­ray, mean­while, is con­fi­dent Hibs will be able to pick up where they left off’ when they host St John­stone this week­end.

The Easter Road out­fit are seek­ing a fifth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory af­ter suc­cesses against Hearts, Mother­well, Kil­marnock and Dundee be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break.

Mur­ray said: “I’ve scored the three goals in the last three games, which has been great.

“But it’s good to get a break and rest up for a lit­tle bit, and I’m rar­ing to go for the St John­stone game.

“I’m just de­lighted I’m back in the team now and hope­fully I’ll stay there.”

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