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Daily Record
Daily Record
Kenny Miller

John McGinn could become Scotland's ALL TIME top scorer but he's got another Dalglish landmark to hit first - Kenny Miller

John McGinn won’t just surpass my Scotland goal record. If he keeps going the way he is now, he might eclipse Super Ally McCoist and King Kenny Dalglish as well.

He got his 16th goal for his country against Cyprus that puts him just two behind my own 18. But John will definitely beat that. And he’ll probably go above a few guys above me on the list too. It seems like no matter what game comes around – against any opposition – he gets chances for Scotland.

The way we play now and the role he’s got really suits him. He’s got good players around him who do a lot of build-up play. That allows McGinn to get closer to the striker in the box and he’s hungry to score goals. It’s an incredible return for a player who isn’t a striker. He’s not even a conventional midfielder. He’s playing in an attacking position but he offers Scotland so much.

John McGinn made it 16 Scotland goals against Cyprus (SNS Group)

Off the ball, he’s got great energy and pressing qualities. John is now a big player for us. To get 16 goals from a midfield position is outstanding.

I know better than most that chances can be few and far between when you play for Scotland. We’re not famous for scoring a lot of goals. So for John to be consistently getting on the end of chances and converting them is so impressive.

Ally is one goal above me on the list of top scorers and the top two – Dalglish and Denis Law – are on 30 apiece. Kenny is the last player to have scored more than 20 goals for Scotland.

But John will do that. He’s only 28 and there are plenty of international games now, with the Nations League being
introduced recently. After his strike yesterday, Scott McTominay came on and got two to seal three points.

But I DON’T think that will guarantee him a start against Spain on Tuesday night. As much as he got a brace, he’s not a go-to guy for goals. Cyprus weren’t great yesterday. The first goal was the crucial one from McGinn.

And it was so important that we won to get off to a good start in the Euro 2024 qualifiers. But has McTominay done enough to force his way into the team? I’m not sure.

That might depend on Ryan Jack’s fitness and whether he can go again on Tuesday. I expected Jacko to play ahead of McTominay, who isn’t playing regularly at Manchester United.

That midfield area is the strongest part of Scotland’s team and Jack and Callum McGregor work really well together.

I don’t think McTominay’s goals will make Steve Clarke think he has to play him against Spain. It will be a different game. The manager might change it. He might play Jack, McGregor and McTominay with McGinn pushed on to play just off the striker.

I liked Steve’s team on Saturday, with McGinn and Stuart Armstrong supporting Che Adams up front. But Spain will be a different ball game. And I think we need a similar performance to the one we produced against Denmark at Hampden to get a result.

We’ll need to frustrate them and be disciplined but when we have the ball we’re good enough to keep the ball off Spain. They don’t want to run, they’re just human like us.

What these top teams rely on is an inferiority complex in the opposition, which lets them quickly turn the ball over.

But this team we’ve got is good enough to keep possession. McGregor, Jack, McTominay, McGinn, Billy Gilmour– they’re all capable of handling the ball. Look at Ryan Porteous’s distribution against Cyprus - he’s more than comfortable with the ball. We have to be brave when we have it against Spain. We need to keep it.

We can’t just defend for 90 minutes because if you do that you’re just waiting to be beaten. It was a brilliant performance when we beat Denmark 2-0 just over a year ago and we’ll need the same again in midweek.


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