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‘McGINN CAN REPLACE BROWN,’ HIBS ACE

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STEVEN WHITTAKER has backed Hibs team-mate John McGinn to become the natural successor to Scott Brown who quit international football yesterday.

The former Scotland defender, who played alongside the 32-year-old Celtic skipper at Easter Road and in the national side, insisted the 55 times-capped midfielder will be a huge loss to returning boss Alex McLeish.

But he reckons his 23-year-old colleague possesses the quality to fill the void.

Whittaker said: “I speak to Scott and I thought his decision was on the cards after the last campaign finished.

“It was a decision he had to make himself for his own career to continue playing at the highest level he possibly can.

“Rest between games is very important to prolonging that.”

The ex-Rangers and Norwich City full-back, capped 31 times, added: “John has already played for Scotland and been Man of the Match twice and this season in the Premiership he has shown a consistency to his game.

“He has all the attributes to play at the top level, he can defend, attack, hold the ball and has a fierce shot.

“John has shown he can score goals as Scott did when he was his age and I’m sure he will get the chance to stake his claim.”

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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