John McGinn ‘buzzing’ after former Hibs star emulates Easter Road legend Lawrie Reilly with Scotland hat-trick
Former Hibs ace John McGinn netted a first-half hat-trick as Scotland demolished San Marino by six goals to nil at a sodden Hampden Park.
The Aston Villa midfielder got the merest of touches onto Ryan Christie’s cross-cum-shot on 12 minutes, capitalised on an error by visiting goalkeeper Davide Simoncini on 27 minutes for his second and fired home his, and Scotland’s third in first-half injury-time after Kilmarnock defender Stuart Findlay had nodded the ball on from Christie’s corner.
McGinn is the first Scotland player to score three goals in the first half of an international match since Lawrie Reilly grabbed a hat-trick against the USA in a friendly in April 1952.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, the 24-year-old – who celebrates his birthday on Friday – said: “I’m buzzing, but the main thing was to get back to winning ways and put on a good performance and I think we did that.
“It was needed, because as a country we’re hurting [after the defeat in Russia]. We’re hurting in the same way the supporters are.
“The coaching staff are all desperate to make this country successful, so we’ll be doing all we can when we pick up poor results like the other night.
“It was up to us to put it right tonight. I know it doesn’t make everything sweet again, but it makes it a lot more positive.”
Manager Steve Clarke added: “I think it was a good performance – six goals. It’s not often that a Scottish team will run up six goals, so I thought the attitude from the first whistle was great.
“Even in the second half, when the pitch became very tricky, we kept going, kept trying to get the goals. It’s a nice reward at the end of a difficult week.
“[The players] have got character and resilience. It’s never easy. We were on a hiding to nothing here tonight, but they’ve shown that they’ve got the character to come back from a bad blow.”