John McGinn hails 'confident' Scotland after captaining side to victory over Czech Republic

Stand-in Scotland captain John McGinn led the national side to a third successive victory in six days with a hard-fought Nations League win over Czech Republic at Hampden.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 10:32 pm
John McGinn in action for Scotland during the Nations League match between Scotland and Czech Republic at Hampden Park on October 14 2020 (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
John McGinn in action for Scotland during the Nations League match between Scotland and Czech Republic at Hampden Park on October 14 2020 (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser, deployed as a support striker for the second match running, struck the decisive goal after just six minutes as Steve Clarke's men held on for three points to cement their place at the top of Group B2.

McGinn was handed the armband for the first time to deputise for skipper Andy Robertson, the Liverpool full-back having picked up a suspension due to a booking in the 1-0 win over Slovakia on Sunday.

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Aston Villa midfielder McGinn admitted it was a career highlight as he hailed a confident Scotland performance.

"I was only standing in for Robbo but for me personally every time I play for Scotland it's a dream come true,” he beamed.

"To get the opportunity to lead us out tonight is something I'll never forget. I look forward to having Robbo back next time but if he wants to miss another couple I don't mind standing in."

"It's a brilliant win," the former Hibs man added. "The first half was probably the best and most confident a Scotland team I've seen in a while. It's been a really tough 10 days and towards the end I think the extra-time and the efforts of the other night started to show.

"We showed great character and it just shows that Andy (Considine) and Paul Hanlon coming in - they weren't in the original squad but they came in and battled hard.

"All the Scottish players now have a chance to come together and be successful and hopefully we can do that."

The result stretched Scotland's unbeaten run to eight matches ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off final in Serbia next month.

"We all knew the importance of the very first game (against Israel) to get that chance to be one win away from a major tournament," McGinn said.

"We're one away from winning Group B to get into Group A and hopefully by the time that comes around we're in against the big boys, get the fans back in here and give the Tartan Army what they've deserved all these years."

McGinn had to make a vital goal-line block to prevent the Czechs equalising in the second half as Scotland held on for a third consecutive shut-out.

"The first thing we had to sort was keeping clean sheets, we were letting too many goals in," he added. "We managed to do that this week with three clean sheets, which is brilliant, then we've got players who can hurt teams.

"It's great for me to have someone like Lyndon (Dykes) and Ryan (Fraser) who was different class in the last two games and is a player who can hurt anybody in the world.

"Hopefully we can use this confidence going into the Serbia game."

Scotland are due to travel to Serbia for their Euro 2020 play-off final on November 12.