John McGinn believes Hibs’ return to the Ladbrokes Premiership will strengthen his claim for a regular place in the Scotland set-up.
The Easter Road midfielder admitted he was “gutted” to be axed from Gordon Strachan’s squad for Saturday’s World Cup showdown with England as the national coach trimmed his pool of players from 30 to 24.
But he is determined to use that disappointment to push again for international recognition and insists playing in the top flight of Scottish football again can only help him in that quest.
The 22-year-old has already won three caps while playing in the Scottish Championship, something he regards as a notable achievement but, while disappointed to be told by Strachan he wouldn’t be involved at Hampden this weekend, he revealed he was assured that he would not be forgotten.
He said: “It was massive for Gordon to have the faith to put me into the Scotland set-up while I was playing in the Championship. I’d been made aware when Gordon named his original squad for the England game that it would be cut and, although it was disappointing to be one of the boys who missed out, I regarded it as an honour to be involved in the first place.
“Gordon spoke to me and he let me know that my international career is far from over and I was grateful for that. I just wished him and the boys all the best. I knew how strong the competition was for places in midfield and to have been involved and to learn from these guys has been amazing.
“Obviously, I hope to be involved in squads to come and I have that goal. I know there is something to aim for, to strive for, and I’ll be doing all I can to get there.
“At a club the size of Hibs you are always in the public eye, always getting attention. You need to be able to handle it and I feel I have. The Premiership is a tougher test but the expectations will still be there so we have to rise to that challenge. I intend to do so and prove I deserve to be involved with Scotland. I feel I can do that.
“We’ll be looking to get a good, strong pre-season under our belts and when the season starts to make that big push for top half in the Premiership. We all know what the manager demands and we want to try to achieve that.”