Law, Dalglish…and McGinn?
The refreshing honesty of Scotland’s glorious gallivanter-for-goals John McGinn can be added to his host of admirable traits. He couldn’t help but project forward in his mind to where his scoring returns for his country might take him in the all-time charts, said the Aston Villa attacker whenever he adds one to his tally. The 28-year-old’s crisp finish to set Steve Clarke’s men on their way has been recognised for placing him outright seventh on the best scorers’ list with 16, moving him one ahead of James McFadden and Bob Hamilton. What could be ultimately more significant is that McGinn is now only two behind Kenny Miller, three adrift of Ally McCoist. Just ahead is Lawrie Reilly on 22, Hughie Gallacher on 22, with Kenny Dalglish and Dennis Law at the summit on the 30-mark. In short, the first four among the scoring six all look catchable for McGinn. In not netting across his first 15 caps, as he noted on Saturday evening, he has amassed his 16 total in only three-and-a-half years. Goals seem to come so naturally to him in the international domain bagigng another nine in the next three-and-a-half years or so, by which time he would only be 32, would seem well within his grasp. Almost doubling his current figure to nudge down two of Scotland’s most storied performers appears more of a stretch. Although not impossible. McGinn is the Scotland poster boy carving out international posterity for himself.
Another 17-year itch that needs scratched
Small steps, and all that, was the feeling on discovering the Cyprus success delivered Scotland a first win in the opening Euros qualifier since that. Frankly, they need far bigger strides and strengthen the comparison with the glorious near miss that was the campaign for Euro 2008. It may be hoping for all-too-much to consider they could upset Spain in Glasgow on Tuesday evening. A side teeming with vibrant young talent and ranked seventh in the FIFA rankings. By Jimmy they could be doing with producing a true statement result in such circumstances. The last time they did that for a victory over a top tier country was at Hampden in October 2006. Then, a Gary Caldwell strike, and fortune and defensive fortitude, claimed Walter Smith’s team a 1-0 over France, World Cup finalists only three months early. A result that made it three out of three for Scotland in their group. As history shows, that provided no guarantee of progress, but Scotland were in the conversation right throughout their campaign following this start. Time to have that excitable chatter again with a win for the ages.
The row over the pricing over the ridiculously tin-eared Scotland’s new retro kit – it feels, in itself, retro to describe anything as retro these days, somehow – has been a pity. Because it overshadowed what a corking kit is the 150th-year commemorating number, with its plain, classical design. It just looks such the business it feels like we should be making our pleas to the football God to recognise that it would be the devil’s work if they weren’t to find favour with a Scotland gracing a major finals with a strip that evokes the game’s greatest era, for so many reasons.