John McGinn has warned Scotland that another performance similar to the one posted against Kazakhstan on Thursday could see them lose to the worst side in world football.
Alex McLeish’s team landed in Rimini last night ahead of tomorrow’s Group I clash with San Marino, which has become a salvage operation after just one game of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
Scotland let themselves down badly in central Asia and the Aston Villa midfielder, who was replaced after 69 minutes by Scott McTominay, admits it has the potential to get worse tomorrow if they do not show more pride in their performance.
Placed 117th in the world before the match, Kazakhstan are the lowest side the Scots have lost against since the introduction of Fifa’s ranking system.
San Marino sit down at 211 – the lowest rank possible at present.
It seems inconceivable that Scotland could slip up against the group’s bottom seeds but then few expected they would come unstuck in such comprehensive fashion on Thursday.
“Kazakhstan away is a game we should win,” said former Hibs star McGinn.
“I think we went into the game as favourites.
“They’re no mugs – at international level no one is. But if you go in with a performance like that anyone will beat you. Even the game at the weekend, if we go to San Marino with that attitude and that performance you will get done. It’s as simple as that.
“It’s up to us to puff our chest out and get the result that we need on Sunday.”
Scotland will be cheered on by around six times the number of fans who followed them on the 4,000-mile journey to Kazakhstan.
“The supporters who paid good money to travel here a long way didn’t deserve a performance like that and the players and staff won’t shy away from that,” added McGinn.
“I feel gutted. There is no hiding away from how poor a performance it was. It wasn’t a great night for us but we have to do the best we can to try to lift ourselves up from it and take it on to Sunday.
“We know how important that is now to try to kickstart our campaign.”
McGinn pulled no punches yesterday. One of the under-performers, he stressed it was the players rather than the manager who had to shoulder most of the blame.
“The fault lies with the players really,” he said. “The manager put out a team and a system he felt could go and win the game and ultimately we didn’t perform.
“As a group we need to take it on the chin,” he added. “We know there will be plenty of criticism that comes our way and that’s just part and parcel [of it].”