Scotland pair can prove inspiration to youngsters looking to make step up

Scotland's John McGinn in action against Cyprus. Picture: PA

Scotland's John McGinn in action against Cyprus. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn believes he and Kenny McLean are showcasing to youngsters what can be achieved by emerging at smaller clubs.

Norwich City midfielder Kenny McLean. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City midfielder Kenny McLean. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

McGinn partnered McLean at the heart of Scotland's midfielder during their 2-1 win over Cyprus in their Euro 2020 qualifier, four years after the pair both left St Mirren.

"I think any young player playing at St Mirren just now, it just shows the sky's the limit," the 24-year-old said.

"It is a great place to learn your football."

McGinn and McLean helped their clubs win promotion to the Premier League this season after their debut seasons in English football.

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McLean, three years older, left the Buddies for Aberdeen before joining the Canaries, while McGinn's next stop after Paisley was Hibernian.

"Four years ago I was nearly at Houston Dynamo," McGinn revealed to BBC Scotland after earning his 14th cap in Saturday's 2-1 victory. "You just never know how football changes.

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"I am loving life in Birmingham and now I'm a Premier League player and I'm delighted to get another start for Scotland and hopefully I can carry that on and be a mainstay in both the Scotland and Aston Villa team."

McGinn admits the Scots "made it hard for ourselves" by conceding an equaliser with three minutes remaining at Hampden. Liverpool full back Andy Robertson had given the home side the lead just after the hour mark but Ionnis Kousoulos equalised with three minutes remaining.

However, Clarke's side rallied and scored a late winner through Burke's tap-in although McGinn admits they will have to play better when they travel to Belgium this evening.

"We are under no illusions about how difficult it is going to be - they are the top team in the world at the minute," he told BBC Scotland. "They have unbelievable players, but we'll go there and give it everything we've got and hopefully bring a result back to Scotland.

"The manager's made it clear this week how he wants us to play. I think we implemented it in a way against Cyprus, but the manager will be looking for improvements and we will as a squad as well."

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