Hibs midfielder John McGinn hopes Scotland’s matches in Peru and Mexico will see him become a mainstay of Alex McLeish’s squad for the UEFA Nations League.
The end-of-season tour was highly-criticised with many first-choice players missing but, insisted McGinn, those who did go have done their chances no harm at all.
With seven caps at the start of the trip, McGinn was one of the old heads in the squad, joking it was a bit weird to find himself considered more experienced than Hibs’ longest-serving player, Lewis Stevenson, who earned his first cap in Lima.
McGinn, who was joined by another Easter Road team-mate, Dylan McGeouch, who also went on to make his Scotland debut, said: “The squad were experienced overall at international level. I think I was one of the players with the most caps because there were so many debutants in the first game.
“But I think the players who made their debuts, guys like Lewis, Dylan, Stephen O’Donnell and Graeme Shinnie, to name just a few, were very good and assured when they played. The trip was a win-win for both the players and the manager. I think now the gaffer knows that he can maybe depend on the boys who were on the trip.
“I really enjoyed the experience. Everyone who was there felt the same way.
“Training and playing in a different environment and experiencing playing in front of a different culture of supporters was great and it was a good challenge playing against two sides going to the World Cup.
“The stadium in Lima impressed us all with the atmosphere and the Azteca was a brilliant place to play too, even though it was more difficult because of the altitude and the heat. I’m glad I got to experience playing there as it is such an iconic venue.”
McGinn insisted the only downside was the fact Scotland lost both matches – 2-0 to Peru and 1-0 to Mexico – but the 23-year-old revealed his determination to be involved when Scotland’s begin their Nations League campaign at home to Albania on September 10.
He said: “For me, I hope I impressed the manager enough to be part of the squad, especially with the Nations League starting up at the beginning of the new season.”
Neil Lennon’s Hibs squad report for pre-season training a fortnight on Monday, but McGinn and Stevenson have been given a few extra days off, time in which the midfielder fully intends to rest and prepare for the Europa League qualifiers which will kick off the new campaign. He said: “I’d already had a short break in Dubai before the games, so now it’s important for me to get in a bit of rest. Fortunately, Lewis and I won’t report until a few days after the team come back but, when I’m back in, I’ll be putting in maximum effort as always to make sure I’m ready for the Europa League qualifiers.”