Is Rangers hero in his sights? How John McGinn's starter for 10 has put him in Scotland league of his own

It was a pretty exclusive club that John McGinn joined in bagging two goals in Scotland’s 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands.

John McGinn celebrates after scoring his second, and Scotland's second, in the 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands that allowed him to create history with his quickfire time frame for netting a first 10 goals for the country. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Until the country’s latest outing, only 22 players across the near 149-year-span they have been contesting internationals had hit double figures. Now McGinn becomes the 23rd man in those annals. The opposition may have been of the lowly variety. Not so the finishing prowess of the 26-year-old, though. In bagging goal number nine with a precision low drive and number 10 courtesy of an emphatic header the Aston Villa attacker – and he really is that more than an orthodox midfelder – gave further examples of goal sniffing that suggests he could achieve special things for his beloved country in the scoring stakes.

McGinn moved above such luminaries as Ian St John, Archie Gemmill and Colin Stein thanks to his latest net-bulging exploits in Scotland colours. Steven Naismith was the last man to breach the 10, in 2019, but it took the Hearts man nine years from his first international goal to reach double figures. And when it comes to the 10 time frames, McGinn’s potency of late places him in a league all of his own for first-10 goal hauls for Scotland.

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It seems extraordinary now that McGinn failed to hit the target across his first 15 caps. But what that means is that, since netting against Russia in September 2019, only a year-and-a-half has passed for him to move from one goal to 10. There is no parallel for a Scotland player claiming their first 10 goals for the country across a mere 18 months.

McGinn has transformed himself into the true predator of Steve Clarke’s Scotland set-up as the result of snaring a hat-trick and two doubles in that time. It must be acknowledged that San Marino accounts for the triple, with Kazakhstan and now the Faroe Islands yielding the scoring twosomes. But, hey, they all count. And against the quality opposition that Austria provided last Thursday, courtesy of his glorious over-head kick McGinn demonstrated he can produce scoring class against class.

Scotland have never had prolific goalscorers. That, in itself, creates juicy possibilities for McGinn. Four more goals in the international domain would mean only seven players sitting about him in Scotland’s all-time top scorers scorers … and put him on the same mark as such as James McFadden and Mo Johnston. If he can keep netting at his current rate – he boasts 10 goals in his past 17 Scotland outings – he could be up there with the country’s all-time scorers before the next Euros roll around.

Indeed, the fact there will be a series of warm-up games before this summer’s finals come along, and that in turn will give way to a World Cup qualifying triple header in September, gives rise to the genuine prospect that McGinn could place himself among the country’s foremost scorers even before 2021 is out.

The 30-goal totals of top-of-the-tree greats Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish might be tough for McGinn to match. Not necessarily so Ally McCoist in fifth, though. The former Rangers’ striker is Scotland’s most successful plunderer in the modern age, but it took him nine years from 1987 to bag his 19 international goals. McGinn surely has time to usurp that tally.

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