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30 March 2016, 09:24
John McGinn admits he "loved every minute'' of his Scotland debut after shining in a 1-0 friendly win over Denmark.
The 21-year-old seized his chance with an assured display alongside Scott Brown in central midfield, using the ball well and pressing the Danes effectively as Scotland triumphed through Matt Ritchie's early goal.
The Hibernian player said: "It was just an amazing feeling to get my nod for my first start. I loved every minute of it. Playing against top players like Christian Eriksen was something that, if you asked me at the start of the season if I was going to do that, I would have laughed at you.
"Ever since you kick a ball, you dream about playing for your country. When I was named in the squad, I was just so keen and excited to get my first cap. And for it to finally happen and get a positive result with it, it couldn't go much better.''
McGinn was even named the sponsors' man of the match, although Craig Gordon must have pushed him close.
"I felt as if it could have gone to Craig in goals, he was terrific, but I'm not going to complain,'' the former St Mirren player said. "I'm delighted I got it.
"I was nervous initially as expected but the older boys helped me settle in and, as soon as the whistle went, I was relaxed and just pleased to make an impression.
"I'm playing with top players and it's easy playing alongside Scott, on his 50th cap. He was a massive help. He was talking the whole game and Gordon (Greer) and Grant (Hanley) were the same. They made the transition very easy.''
McGinn was watched by several family members, including brother Paul, the Dundee full-back, and grandfather Jack, the former Scottish Football Association president and Celtic chairman. Along with an enthusiastic fan who greeted him as he went down the tunnel.
"That was my mum's Auntie Mary,'' the 21-year-old said. "She used to watch me when I was a kid. She's mental. She'll be up the stairs on the pints just now.
"It was great to have so many people there, especially my granddad. He missed the (League) cup final because he was ill but it was great to see him there and I'm sure he will be proud.''
Also making an impressive debut was Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, who was among the best players on the pitch in the first half.
The 18-year-old was surprised but grateful to be handed the chance by Gordon Strachan.
He added: "It was a great experience for me, at Hampden as well in front of the Scottish crowd. To play for your national team at any age is a great achievement.
"The last few months have been crazy, playing big nights at Celtic Park and that's a great achievement there.''
Strachan, who also handed a late debut to Oliver Burke, had some words of encouragement beforehand.
Tierney revealed: "He said to the debutants before the game, 'You are here for a reason, do what you have been doing.' So I just had to do what I have been doing at Celtic.''