Scott McKenna: I still keep video evidence of the time I poleaxed John McGinn at Easter Road
Scott McKenna still keeps video evidence of the time he poleaxed John McGinn at Easter Road as his Scottish team-mate constantly brings up the incident whenever the pair go away on international duty.
For the moment in question you have to go back to 2017 and a quarter-final clash between reigning Scottish Cup holders Hibs and second-tier Ayr United.
McKenna, who was on loan from Aberdeen at the time, was shown a straight red card shortly before half-time with the hosts leading 2-1. Having opened the scoring earlier in the game, McGinn was almost cut in half by the challenge as the opposition defender caught him around waist height.
Now a regular with Nottingham Forest in the English Premier League, where McGinn also plays his football for Aston Villa, McKenna marvels at how far the two have come in their respective careers after the tackle, which he admits is one of the worst he’s committed in his career.
The two even laugh about it as McGinn often jokingly informs newcomers to the squad of the history which exist between the pair.
“No definitely not,” responded McKenna when asked if he could have envisioedn the two of them being international team-mates as he trudged off the field that day in Leith. “That tackle is probably still one of the worst ones I’ve made. Thankfully we’ve both managed to move on from it and are both doing ok.
“I’ve still got the video on the phone to show him when I need! I keep it because he will tell someone new in nearly every camp that I did it to him. I like to keep the evidence.
“He’s too strong for me now. It’s great we have both managed to come so far from that day.”
McKenna is steadily establishing himself as an important member of the squad under Steve Clarke after dropping into a reserve role following his initial ascension into the Scotland ranks under Alex McLeish.
McGinn, on the other hand, has long been recognised as one of the first names on the team sheet. The former Hibs hero underlined his importance to the side yet again this past Wednesday as he rifled in the opening goal as Scotland routed Ukraine 3-0 at Hampden Park.
“Yes definitely,” answered McKenna was quizzed on whether the players view McGinn as a talisman in the same way supporters do. “Whenever you see John in an attacking position you know he’s going to be creative, create something for someone else or he’s going to score.
“More times than not he will take those opportunities for us and hopefully that will continue.”
The Nations League contest at the national stadium also saw McGinn lead the team out as captain. He may not be a vocal leader but McKenna insists he’s still got the tools for the role.
“He’s not a massive screamer or shouter in the dressing room,” said McKenna ahead of this weekend’s match with Ireland. “It’s just the way he leads on the pitch – he will make a forward pass or a tackle and it brings the rest of the boys with him.”