John McGinn today insisted he’s raring to go against Danish outfit Brondby tomorrow night despite having only had a three-week break from football.
The Hibs midfielder endured a marathon 57 games in a season which was extended as he joined Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad for the friendly internationals against Italy and France.
But the 21-year-old was adamant a short holiday was a price he was happy to pay as he looked forward to capping a memorable first year in a green-and-white shirt in which he made his international debut – ironically against Denmark – and helped end Hibs’ 114-year Scottish Cup hoodoo, bringing the added bonus of a first taste of Europa League football.
McGinn said: “It’s something to look forward to, every player wants to play on the European stage. If someone had told me last summer all this would have happened to me in the one year I’d have laughed.
“I’d imagine Brondby will be favourites. We know they have a good reputation in Europe but we have home advantage tomorrow night so we’ll be hoping to get a good positive result to take to Copenhagen next week.
“[Head coach] Neil Lennon and [assistant] Garry Parker have great experience of Europe so I’m sure we’ll be tapping into that to help us and if we can perform like the gaffer’s teams did when he was at Celtic then we’ll be fine.
“We’ve been working hard preparing for the game and I think the way we applied ourselves against Motherwell on Sunday and the way we performed can only have helped.
“On a personal level I only had three weeks off, maybe not as much as that, having been with Scotland at the end of the season, but then you look at guys like Niall McGinn at Aberdeen and he’s not had any holiday at all having been at the European Championships with Northern Ireland.
“If you are going to be successful in football you have to make sacrifices and that’s something I am happy to do.”
While a number of Lennon’s players may be Euro rookies, McGinn believes his own experiences as Scotland’s Under-21 captain will stand him in good stead.
He said: “You need to approach it a bit differently. You can’t tackle has hard. You have to be clever and patient, remembering it’s not settled tomorrow night but over two games.
“You need to be sensible, you can’t be goo gung-ho. Away goals count so you have to be aware of that but we’ll have a game plan for both legs.
“Hopefully, we can get a good result to take to Denmark and hopefully get into the next round, but I think Aberdeen and Hearts found it a bit tough in the previous round although they both got the job done.
“We know it will be difficult, but I think that with our performances against all those Premiership clubs last season we’ve shown we have players capable to playing at the highest level.”