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McGINN HAILS ‘CONFIDENT’ SCOTS

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SCOTLAND’S stand-in skipper John McGinn believes the team’s recent success can be put down to shutting up shop.

David Marshall enjoyed his third successive shut-out in seven days following the goalless draw with Israel with the Scots going through to the Euro Play-Off Final against Serbia on November 12.

Plus the former Celtic keeper, who is now at Derby County, kept out Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the 1-0 wins where Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Fraser scored the matchwinners in the UEFA Nations League triumphs.

Aston Villa powerhouse McGinn was handed the captain’s armband by manager Steve Clarke in the absence of the injured Andy Robertson and the midfielder is determined to build on the squad’s confidence ahead of the encounter against the dangerous Serbians who knocked out Kristoffer Ajer and his Norwegian team-mates in extra-time of their semi-final.

Reflecting on last night’s latest success, the ex-Hibs star, speaking to Sky Sports News, said: “Brilliant win. I think the first-half was probably the best and most confident Scotland team I’ve seen in a while.

“It’s been a really, really tough 10 days. I think towards the end of extra-time the efforts from the other night started to show.

“We showed great character and Andy Considine and Paul Hanlon, who weren’t in the original squad, came in, battled hard and it just shows you, all the Scottish players now they’ve got a chance to come together and be successful and, hopefully, we can do that.”

Asked what he puts the confidence down to, McGinn replied: “I think the first thing we had to sort was keeping clean sheets.

“We were letting too many goals in. We managed to do that this week. Three clean sheets, which was brilliant and then we’ve got players who can hurt teams.

“It’s great for me to have someone like Lyndon Dykes and then Ryan Fraser who was different class for the last two games. He’s a player who can hurt anybody in the world.

“Hopefully, we can use this confidence going into the Serbia game.”

McGinn talked about the honour of skippering his country and added: “I was only standing in for Robbo, but, for me personally, every time I play for Scotland it’s a dream come true. However, to get that opportunity to lead us out is something I’ll never forget.

“Looking forward to Robbo being back next time, but if he wants to miss another couple I don’t mind standing in.”

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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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