Hibs midfielder John McGinn will stay with Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad as they prepare for Sunday’s “must-win” World Cup qualifying clash with Slovenia – putting him out of the reckoning for the Capital side’s crucial Championship match against Falkirk the previous day.
McGinn got only 14 minutes as a second-half substitute in last night’s 1-1 draw with Canada at Easter Road but will remain with the international squad rather than return to his club.
Whether or not McGinn is involved at Hampden this weekend remains to be seen with Strachan having a number of players such Celtic skipper Scott Brown, James Forrest and Stuart Armstrong – who didn’t play against the Canadians – to recall. And Strachan admitted his side will have to be better at Hampden although he insisted playing the Canadians was “one of the better decisions” he had made, adamant he learned a lot he can put to use against Slovenia.
He said: “It cleared up a lot of things. It’s helped a lot of players, helped the coaching staff in particular to where we are going on Sunday, so we learned quite a few things.
“It wasn’t a great night. It won’t be a memorable in anybody’s memory at the end of their careers but it was invaluable for me to use the information we collected on Sunday.
“I think a lot of players found it hard. To use a golfing analogy, it’s hard to take two months off and then go and play in the Masters. It wasn’t the easiest pitch to play on with the conditions and to find your form in an international match on a night like that was hard.
“You could see in the first ten or 15 minutes that spooked us for a bit. We could have been braver with passes but when you have not played a lot of games it’s hard to switch on and do that.
“We’ll need to be better on Sunday unless we are very lucky, But we don’t want luck in it, we have to be better. So tonight helped us a lot. A lot of players would have liked to have played a bit better but we just have to deal with it.
“It’s very hard to play at international level when you are not firing on all cylinders in your club game. But we needed to find that out.
“We learned a lot. I wouldn’t say it makes things easier, but clearer.”
Strachan confirmed that Bournemouth midfielder Ryan Fraser is highly doubtful for Sunday, the former Aberdeen player having missed out on an international debut with a knee injury. He said: “His knee is swollen. We don’t take any chances with players. It’s up to them to decide if they are fit or not. We want to make sure he is all right for his club.”