The Aston Villa midfielder, nicknamed Meatball during his St Mirren days, may be a physical presence on the park and a nightmare for opposition defences to contain.

He is also a fine footballer. He was certainly presented with a gilt-edged scoring chance in the first-half of the Qatar 2022 qualifier against Israel at Hampden tonight when Scotland were trailing 1-0 after good work by Kieran Tierney, Andy Robertson and Che Adams.

But he showed tremendous composure to control the ball with his right foot and stroke a left foot shot into the top corner.

The 40-times capped 26-year-old has now netted 11 times for the national team and has been on target on four occasions in this campaign. Do not bet against McGinn adding to his tally going forward.

That said, he should have buried the ball in the back of the net in the closing stages after being supplied by substitute Ryan Christie.



Lyndon Dykes might well have scored the spot kick which secured a narrow and hard-fought Group F win over Austria in Vienna last month. But the Queens Park Rangers striker was fortunate to beat Daniel Bachmann from 12 yards out.

Steve Clarke should have thought seriously about replacing the Australia-born forward as the designated penalty kick then even though he had clinched the win and the three points. He will have to do so now. Dykes's first-half penalty, easily saved by Ofir Marciano, was dire. 

The national team didn’t miss once in their shoot-out wins over Israel and Serbia in the play-off semi-final and final last year so there are plenty of players who can do the job.



Steve Clarke has added Aston Villa set piece specialist Austin MacPhee to his backroom team this season. There is clearly much work for the former Northern Ireland coach to do. Scotland conceded both of their goals at free-kicks.

But the national team should never have gifted their opponents with chances to score by fouling them in such dangerous areas just outside their penalty box. Jack Hendry and Scott McTominay were foolish and almost cost their team victory.  

Andy Robertson and his team mates were easily the better side over the course of the 90 minutes and should have won it comfortably. The forwards must shoulder some responsibility for failing to kill the game off.

But mistakes at the back are punished ruthlessly at international level and Scotland must cut them out of their play to avoid any costly slip-ups in future.