Former Hibs team-mate backs Ryan Porteous to shine for Scotland in Ukraine

Ex-Hibs ace Paul McGinn has backed Ryan Porteous to shine for Scotland if the defender is given his international debut tonight against Ukraine.

Porteous is in line to make a maiden appearance for his country after injuries further depleted Steve Clarke’s options at the centre-back position.

Already without the likes of Liam Cooper, Grant Hanley and John Souttar, Scotland have now lost Scott McKenna and Kieran Tierney to injury while Scott McTominay, often a stand-in at the position, is out through suspension.

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St Mirren’s Declan Gallagher and Hearts defender Stephen Kingsley have been drafted into the squad, but Porteous may have the edge having been picked for the group from the outset.

Ryan Porteous and Paul McGinn in Hibs training earlier this year. The two have also been named in Scotland squads together. Picture: SNS

“Based on the fact he was in the initial squad, I think he will get the nod,” McGinn told the Evening News.

“It’s a big game and he normally seemed to rise to big games. If he didn’t, or if he made a mistake, it was typically in the games where we would be a bit complacent. So I would very much trust him.

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“I do think he would still get on the ball. He’s still got that confidence. He wouldn’t just kick it the way he’s facing.

“It’ll be a tougher game, away from home. They’ll need his physical attributes and he’s a great outlet defender as well.”

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Having made his Scotland debut in a similarly difficult away trip to Austria last year, McGinn had some advice for the 23-year-old.

“Don’t overthink it. He just needs to play the same way he does,” said the now-Motherwell right-back. “Probably no pantomime stuff unless he’s going to win us a penalty. But otherwise just play it as normal. I’d hate to see him turn down the chance to make a pass or play it safe because it’s not really him.”

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Porteous was at the centre of another media storm prior to him joining the Scotland camp as Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin accused him of “blatant cheating”. McGinn reckons a strong performance on Tuesday evening could help sway perceptions of his old club-mate.

“Unless you’re a Hibs fan, chances are you’re not a fan of Porto,” he said. “I feel Scott Brown had similar but then he played well for Scotland for so many years and won people round. It could have the same effect.”

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