John McGinn had a feeling his former Hibs teammate knew where he was going – but that didn’t stop the Aston Villa man help in booking Scotland’s place in a play-off final.
The Villans battler featured for 120 mins as Scotland and Israel played out a fairly turgid game of football in Euro 2020 play-off semi-final action. After one shot on target during two hours of football resulted in a 0-0 draw, penalties decided this game.
And McGinn stepped up to take his first, Israeli number one being Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano. The Aston Villa man just about beat his former teammate, squeezing it under him without an inch to spare.
It did the trick though as Scotland were excellent in the shootout, scoring all five penalties as they won 5-3 thanks to a big David Marshall save. Steve Clarke’s men now have a date with destiny next month against Serbia for a place at Euro 2020 next year.
McGinn has reacted to the win that sets up a chance to send the nation to its first major tournament since 1998.
“We scored four good penalties and mine squirmed in,” said McGinn (Sky Sports). “I’d been taking them in training and Ofi maybe knew I was going that side. You need to go with your gut and thankfully it went in.
“It was a horrible game, really nervy. Without the Tartan Army you knew it was going to be tough. Things are hard in Scotland just now and hopefully that’s given them the lift.
“We still have a lot to work on. It wasn’t a great performance but there was a lot of pressure on us. We have given ourselves a chance to get to a major tournament and it’s been far too long. Hopefully we can be the group of players to do it.
“We could easily have crumbled tonight but we were so determined to get over the line. Credit to Marshy for making a big save and we got there.”