Scotland: England draw at Hampden changed team's fortunes - McGinn

Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths
Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths scored twice in the 2-2 draw with England at Hampden
World Cup qualifying: Scotland v Slovakia
Venue: Hampden Park Date: Thursday, 5 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

John McGinn highlighted Scotland's 2-2 draw with England as the match that sparked an upturn in the team's World Cup qualifying Group F fortunes.

Having taken four points from their first four games, the Scots then beat Slovenia, drew with England and have also beaten Lithuania and Malta.

"The game against England at home was a real turning point," McGinn said.

"It proved to everyone, even around the world, that Scotland are still a good team with a lot of good players."

According to midfielder McGinn, the "confidence and momentum" the players took from that display helped them to see off Lithuania and Malta and fight back into contention in Group F.

With Slovakia next up on Thursday at Hampden, and Slovenia away on Sunday, Scotland know two wins will secure second place and a probable play-off place.

"It's been clear in the last few games, there's been a real change in style of play - there's a lot more energy, we're creating a lot more chances and there's a real fluency in the team, so hopefully if I'm involved this week I can try to help," McGinn added.

"The last two games might not have been against the tougher opponents in the group but we still had to perform and we put on two really good performances. Hopefully we carry that into the next two games."

With Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown missing through injury, McGinn's two-goal haul for Hibs against Celtic on Saturday has put him in the frame for a starting slot against Slovakia.

He came on as a substitute when the Scots lost 3-0 in Slovakia, but reckons they are well-placed to avenge that result.

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor and Hibs midfielder John McGinn
Celtic's Callum McGregor and Hibs' McGinn are both options to start against Slovakia

"We all know what Slovakia are capable of, we played them away from home," McGinn said.

"Maybe it wasn't our best night but it proved they are a top team. They have a lot of top players, but you can't take away from our performances in the last two games.

"We were really positive in the way we played and there's a real feel-good factor around the place. It's up to us to take that into the next two games, which are arguably tougher. Slovenia, we've watched them a lot and they've got a lot of tricky players.

"At this level there are not a lot of easy games and Slovakia is certainly one of the hardest in the group, so we know what's at stake. It's in our hands and that's a good thing for us."

McGinn has been a part of Strachan's squad without establishing himself in the starting line-up.

'I'm playing some of my best ever football'

He believes he is ready to step up and embrace the responsibility if he is selected for the side on Thursday.

"It's another chance for people like myself and the other midfielders in the squad to make a name for themselves, and be heroes," McGinn added.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Scottish Premiership highlights: Celtic 2-2 Hibernian

"A lot of the players are used to playing in big games, you try to ignore all the noise outside but sometimes that's not as easy as it sounds.

"Every time I've come away with the squad I've learned something new and improved. At club level I feel I'm playing some of the best football I've ever played.

"I'm confident. [Brown and Armstrong] have set a high standard now and anyone that comes in has got to try to match it, if not, improve it. Everyone knows what they've got to do, it's just getting that platform to go and show what they can do on the big stage."

Top Stories