Scotland manager Steve Clarke has explained the thinking behind playing Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn as a ‘support-striker.’

McGinn is deployed deep in midfield by manager Dean Smith on domestic duty for Aston Villa but Clarke opts to play him further forward, which has resulted in eight goals in 30 Scotland matches.

The Aston Villa man has thrived further up the park.

The Aston Villa man has thrived further up the park. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Clarke said: “His strike-rate is looking good. In certain games we play him a bit more advanced in which he becomes a support-striker. He gets the goals so long may it continue. It’s one of those good problems for a head coach. Wherever we play him, he gives 100%.”

The Aston Villa star will look to add to his tally tonight when Scotland travel to face Israel for the fourth time this season, coming up against the Israelis this time in World Cup 2022 qualifying. Having lost 1-0 last time out, Clarke is after goals to make it four points from their opening two qualification matches, drawing with Austria on Thursday.


He added: “The November game, we were chasing the win because we wanted to top the Nations League section. We conceded the first goal, which always makes you chase a little bit more frantic and sometimes when you’re frantic you need a little bit of composure to find the key finish in the game and we didn’t manage to do that.

Scotland v Austria - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier

Wanting to make amends. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“But certainly if we create enough chances and get enough pressure on the Israelis as we did in that game I’d like to think we have boys on the pitch that can score goals.”

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