John McGinn takes confidence from 2013 victory over Celtic

McGinn (left) battles with Emilio Izaguirre during the Buddies' semi-final win over Celtic. Picture: SNS
McGinn (left) battles with Emilio Izaguirre during the Buddies' semi-final win over Celtic. Picture: SNS
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Hibernian midfielder John McGinn still takes confidence from his League Cup semi-final display against Celtic as he prepares to meet St Johnstone at the same stage.

An 18-year-old McGinn stole the show in central midfield at Hampden in 2013 against Celtic’s trio of Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama and Joe Ledley as St Mirren reached the final with a 3-2 win.

That afternoon at Hampden helped shape McGinn’s future and he will draw upon the memory when Hibs take on St Johnstone at Tynecastle in the last four on Saturday.

“It was one of my first games for St Mirren and it was a massive occasion for myself,” McGinn said.

“Thankfully that day I managed to deal with it okay and played well. If I can deal with the occasion on Saturday and play as well, then I’ll be delighted.

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“When I was standing in the tunnel, lining up against Wanyama and Ledley, I was a bit nervous but after the first five minutes I managed to settle in and the experienced guys round about me helped me settle in. We have that in the dressing room as well so I’m sure it won’t be a problem.

“It could have been make or break in a way. I could have had a nightmare. There were 40,000 there that day and it was a big occasion for me. It was whether I could handle that, and thankfully I did.

“It was a massive confidence boost for me for the rest of that season. Even now I still look back on it and know inside that I’m capable of putting in performances like that. Hopefully I can do that on Saturday.”

Saints went on to lift the trophy by beating Hearts and McGinn knows what similar success would do at Easter Road, despite admitting promotion is their priority.

“It gives everyone a lift,” the Scotland Under-21 captain said. “Everyone involved in the club, it just puts a smile on their face. It’s something to look forward to.

“It’s an added bonus. We know the league is the nitty-gritty and is the most important.

“But to have a chance to win medals and get to finals is something every player wants and it’s something I don’t want to pass up.”

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Meanwhile, McGinn vowed to move on from the recent controversy that followed his side’s draw with Falkirk on January 17.

Falkirk boss Peter Houston accused McGinn of “going down easily” in the box following a challenge from Luke Leahy but later apologised after viewing television footage.

McGinn, 21, said: “At the time I was a bit disappointed by Peter’s comments but he was big enough to come out and apologise. He tried to phone me on the Monday morning but he spoke to the manager and after that I was fine. That’s football - you just get on with it.

“I have not got a problem with Peter or anyone at Falkirk but I know myself, and everyone else does, I would never try to cheat to win at anything. That’s the end of it as far as I’m concerned.”

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