JOHN McGinn has scored several stunning goals for both his club and country in the past few seasons as he has developed into a top class attacking midfielder.

Have any of them, though, been either as spectacular or important as the overhead kick he netted for Scotland against Austria at rain-soaked Hampden last night?

The national team had looked to be heading for a costly and desperately disappointing defeat in their opening Qatar 2022 qualifier after conceding twice to on-form VfB Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic in the second-half.

Then Aston Villa man McGinn, the country’s leading scorer in their Euro 2020 campaign, intervened with just five minutes of regulation time remaining to salvage a draw.

He met a Ryan Christie header into a packed opposition penalty box first time and turned it acrobatically into the bottom left corner of the net to level and earn his team a precious point.

It was a crying shame there were no members of the Tartan Army inside the stadium to cheer his moment of magic.

The last time that a Scotland player had managed to score in such a manner was when Maurice Johnston put them in front in an Italia ’90 qualifier against Cyprus back in 1989.

Andy Roxburgh’s men went on to play in the World Cup finals the following year – and current manager Steve Clarke will be hoping McGinn’s strike has the same impact on their qualification attempt.

A draw against the second seeds in Group F was not what they hoped for. But it could have been much, much worse. The fightback gives them something to build on in their second outing in Israel on Sunday. 

Austria were able to field their Bundesliga contingent after Germany relaxed their coronavirus quarantine rules. Goalkeeper Alexander Schlager of LASK and Adrian Grbic of Lorient were the only two players in the visitors starting line-up who did not play in that league. David Alaba of Bayern Munich slotted in to his usual left back berth.

They showed why they are 25 places ahead of their hosts in the FIFA World Rankings by dominating the opening exchanges.

There was no start for Che Adams, the Leicester-born Southampton striker who committed himself to this country this month, but he would hardly have been involved if he had received the nod. Lone front man Lyndon Dykes received limited service in the opening half hour.

Grant Hanley picked up a booking for a clumsy late challenge on Baumgartner in the Austria half in just the 14th minute and was spoken to by Spanish referee Carlos del Cerro Grande for persistent fouling later in the first half.

For reasons best known to himself, the match official allowed similar infringements against those in dark blue jerseys go unpunished. Christie made his displeasure known when he was bundled over by Florian Grillitsch and he picked up a booking as well.

Hanley did, though, help to limit Austria to attempts from outside their penalty box in the opening 45 minutes. David Marshall, playing in his first game in a month did well to get down and deny Baumgartner and Alaba.

Scotland came into the game as the first-half wore on thanks in no small part to Scott McTominay, who looked far more comfortable in his favoured central midfield position, taking control. The Manchester United man helped tee up Stuart Armstrong twice in the space of three minutes only for his team mate to flash both his attempts wide. 

Still, getting near goal seemed to lift Clarke’s charges. Kieran Tierney had an effort blocked four minutes before half-time. Then Dykes pounced on an underhit pass from Schlager to Aleksandar Dragovic and cut back to Christie. The keeper atoned for his error by saving with his outstretched leg.

The Celtic playmaker, whose form has dipped since he scored in the play-off semi-final, also tested Schlager in added on time at the end of the first-half when McTominay laid the ball back to him. Scotland headed back into the dressing room in a more positive frame of mind.

But the second-half got off to the worst possible start. Austria took the lead after seven minutes had elapsed when nobody closed down Grillitsch and the midfielder tried his luck from long-range. Marshall palmed it straight to the feet of Kalajdzic who had he simplest of tasks to side foot into the net.

Scotland should have been awarded a penalty just two minutes later when wing back Stephen O’Donnell chipped into the opposition six yard box. Christie was wrestled to the turf by Stefan Ilsanker. But Senor del Cerro Grande allowed play to continue. It was a dreadful decision. The sooner VAR is introduced to this competition the better. 

But Clarke’s side benefitted from another poor call moments later when the scorer was ruled to have pushed Tierney before scoring a second. He hadn’t.

Hanley restored parity in the 71st minute after Scotland were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Dykes. O’Donnell shelled it high into the Austria box, the defender broke free from his marker Ilsanker and headed beyond Schlager. It was only his second international goal.

Scotland were only level for nine minutes. Kalajddzic put the away side ahead again with a sublime header of his own. He rose above Jack Hendry and nodded a Stefan Lainer delivery into the top right corner.

It wouldn’t, however, be the best of the evening.