John McGinn on Scotland’s ambition: ‘Why not aim for 100?’

McGinn led Scotland to a 3-0 win over Ukraine, scoring his 14th international goal
place: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday 24 September Starting: 19:45 GMT
coverage: Listen live on BBC Radio Scotland Extra / DAB / 810MW, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, highlighting BBC One Scotland from 22:50

As John McGinn stands on the cusp of his 50th title in Scotland, the midfielder is already dreaming of a century.

The 27-year-old made his 49th international appearance with the opening goal in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Ukraine in Hampden.

In the absence of Andy Robertson, McGinn is on his way to leading the team again in Saturday’s meeting with the Republic of Ireland.

“I feel a little bit emotional about how far I’ve come,” McGinn said.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs in my career and it is definitely a ‘pinch for me’ moment and a time to reflect.

“But it’s important for me to build on it. Why don’t I aim for 100? Because I’ll keep playing until I’m told I’m not good enough.”

Only Kenny Dalglish has made it to three times with Scotland (102 caps).

Dalglish is the nation’s joint record goalscorer in 30 matches, along with Dennis Law (55 caps), while McGinn is now ninth on that all-time list, tied with Moe Johnston.

All of his 14 goals came in 35 games under Steve Clarke.

“It’s probably a position I didn’t think I could play in before he took over,” McGinn told BBC Scotland. “He pulled me aside one day and said, ‘I will play you at a higher level.’ I managed to score two goals and they kept coming.

“Obviously it’s great for me to help the team. I feel confident from the stands, on the sidelines and most importantly my team-mates. I hope to continue to contribute and score for Scotland, which is the best feeling in the world.”

“We need to support Ukraine’s victory’

Scotland now top Group B1 in the Nations League, and draws in each of their last two games, against the Irish in Hampden and Ukraine in Krakow, will be enough to secure progress to the top flight as well as a place among the second-seeded Euros next month. 2024 qualifiers draw.

“The win over Ukraine was a great result, but it’s one we need to support,” McGinn said.

“We need to be two regular teams and try to push for the first pot, not just for us but for the players coming in to make their way to the big leagues easier.”

Scotland ended their 23-year wait for a place on the big stage in the postponed Euro 2020 finals, but suffered a painful semi-final loss to Ukraine in Glasgow in June, as Wales then beat Ukraine to take their place in England. The group is in the World Cup this winter.

“Once we get somewhere, the manager doesn’t want to stop,” McGinn revealed. “As players, we probably need to change our mentality. Once we got to the Euros, we should have realized we deserved to be there. But we’re not used to that and we got involved a lot with everything that comes with it.

“We will learn from that and we will learn from the experience of losing play-offs. The most painful thing is that we know we can be in Qatar, so we need to use the feeling that we are not going to motivate us. To become better.”