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CLARKE HAILS McGINN AND NAISMITH DOUBLE-ACT

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THE best is yet to come from John McGinn, that’s the verdict of Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

Aston Villa’s midfield dynamo scored twice in his nation’s comeback 3-1 win over Kazakhstan at Hampden last night as they brought down the curtain on a failed Euro 2020 qualifying campaign that had been doomed from the start.

However, new boss Clarke, who replaced Alex McLeish in May, has now led his nation to three successive triumphs with victories over San Marino (6-0), Cyprus (2-1) and now the Kazakhs.

McGinn, 25, has been the Scots’ talisman and has claimed seven goals in his last six appearances.

Clarke, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “John is on a fantastic run of form. He has been great for Aston Villa for the last couple of seasons and he is starting to bring it onto the international stage.

BY THE LEFT…John McGinn fires in the third goal against Kazakhstan.

NET PROPHET…a delighted McGinn runs away in triumph.

TAKE A BOW, SIR…McGinn salutes the Tartan Army as Greg Taylor joins in.

“It’s very important to remember he is still in the early stages of his international career. The more games you play at this level, the better you become. The more experience you get, the better the team will become.

“You look at someone like Steven Naismith who is a great example to them all. He plays with great experience at this level and it was great to see him get his goal, as well.

“When you’ve got any player in goalscoring form, that’s good for any team.

“John is the man scoring the goals now and, hopefully, we’ll get one or two more who can do that, too.

“We’ve found a good position for John. He’s playing it very well, he and Steven Naismith are developing a decent understanding and as well as the goals they give us a good early press and the desire to meet the opposition high up the pitch which helps us, as well.”

The Hearts frontman put the Scots ahead after a McGinn deflected free-kick had brought the equaliser shortly after the turnaround. The former Hibs powerhouse hit the third in the fading moments.

Scotland will now await the draw on Friday to see which nation awaits them in the play-offs that could still see them win through to their first major international tournament in 22 years.

 

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Editor

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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