Republic of Ireland v Scotland: John McGinn says team ‘loyalty’ promises bright future
|Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday June 11 To start up: 5:00 p.m. BST|
|Cover: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app, watch highlights on Sportscene|
John McGinn says being one of three players approaching Scotland’s 50th cap is a sign of renewed “commitment and loyalty” – and a bright future.
The 27-year-old Aston Villa midfielder could score his 47th place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.
Scotland take on the Republic of Ireland in their second Nations League game.
“Maybe a few years ago the summer games could have been sniffed and there would have been withdrawals left, right and center,” admitted McGinn.
“But the core of the team remains the same and we are all focused on making this country successful again.”
Norwich City centre-half Grant Hanley has 43 caps, Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor has one more, while Heart of Midlothian goalkeeper Craig Gordon and Liverpool captain and left-back Andy Robertson have both exceeded half a century.
“Yeah, I’m getting closer — I don’t want to jinx it,” McGinn said. “One was enough for me, to be perfectly honest.
“If you had asked me on my debut at St Mirren if I would play 46 times for my country, I would probably have laughed.”
McGinn, however, stressed that apart from Gordon, 39, it is a young team and highlighted the progress made by Everton right-back Nathan Patterson, Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour and full-back left from Bologna Aaron Hickey.
“We have a good batch that could qualify for the next two tournaments,” he said. “We are all hungry, still focused on success. The future is bright for Scotland.”
While the Scots started Nations League Group B1 with a 2-0 victory over Armenia in Glasgow on Wednesday, the Republic lost their first two matches against Armenia and Ukraine, but McGinn expects to “a difficult game”.
“I know Ireland are not in great form, but we know there are players in the dressing room, we play against them every week, so their form will change,” he said. “They will have a point to prove.
“They will be physical and more than capable of getting a result, so we need to be at our best and hopefully come away with three points.”