John McGinn pitted his wits against Georginio Wijnaldum and Kevin Strootman as Scotland welcomed The Netherlands to Pittodrie on Tuesday night.
But to say the Hibernian star wasn’t fazed is an understatement. McGinn dominated the midfield battleground, continuously winning back possession and setting the tempo. Despite Scotland losing 1-0 to a well-taken Memphis Depay goal, McGinn was the deserved winner of the Man of the Match award in only his fifth outing for Scotland.
And the 22-year-old is hoping to build on his stand-out performance against The Dutch by cementing his place in the centre of Scotland’s midfield.
“It is always a great feeling to play for Scotland, but it meant a lot more to be named in the starting line-up for last night’s game,” McGinn, who has been named Man of the Match in both of his international starts, told Hibs’ official website.
“I feel like I’ve been having a good season, as have the other midfielders at Hibs, so to be put into the Scotland team was a fantastic feeling.”
If McGinn is to become a regular for his country, last season’s Scottish Championship Player of the Year must maintain the form that has arguably earned him the tag of the country’s most exciting young talent. And perhaps that hotly-tipped move to reigning champions Celtic will help McGinn go from a promising squad player to an undisputed starter for his country.
And with Celtic stars Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths regulars in Scotland’s starting XI, it’s clear to see that playing week in week out for the champions does not harm your international prospects.
McGinn is thriving at Hibs but, like Brown ten years ago, swapping Edinburgh for the green half of Glasgow looks like the logical next step.