John McGinn hails Steve Clarke for turning Scott McTominay into a goal machine for Scotland… as the Tartan Army set their sights on a 12th straight qualifying win against Spain to book their place at Euro 2024

  • Scott McTominay has been in fine goalscoring form for Scotland recently
  • John McGinn feels manager Steve Clarke deserves credit for McTominay’s rise
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Never has a Scottish side, international or club, won here in Seville. But none of them had Scott McTominay, the man who has outscored Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo in Euro 2024 qualification.

Steve Clarke is without defender Kieran Tierney for the match against Spain in which a draw would confirm their place at next summer’s finals in Germany, and once over that would mean McTominay slipping into his back three. 

Not now, not when he is Europe’s most potent international midfielder with six goals from five matches. Only Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, on eight, has more in qualifying.

McTominay’s scoring form extended to Manchester United at the weekend, coming from the bench in the 86th minute to net twice in stoppage-time and snatch a 2-1 victory over Brentford. Afterwards, his club posted the words: ‘Scott McTominay appreciation tweet’.

Those goals may well have saved Erik ten Hag’s job at Old Trafford, and Scotland’s John McGinn believes the Dutchman has Clarke to thank.

Scott McTominay embraces Steve Clarke, and has been a goal machine in Euro 2024 qualifying

John McGinn believes Clarke deserves credit for pushing McTominay higher up the pitch and into goalscoring positions

John McGinn believes Clarke deserves credit for pushing McTominay higher up the pitch and into goalscoring positions

‘Steve Clarke came in and pushed me higher up,’ said the Aston Villa midfielder. ‘He obviously noticed something in my game that he felt could help the team. And he has echoed that with Scotty, he has pushed him higher up. The credit I will give the gaffer, Villa have copied that with me, and Ten Hag has copied him as well.’

Of McTominay, McGinn added: ‘He is so athletic, he gets in the box and hits the ball harder than anyone I have ever played with, so it’s no surprise he is getting goals.’

After 215 appearances for United, was it about time McTominay’s club ‘appreciated’ him?

Clarke said: ‘Scott is one of the boys that has been driving the team forward over my time as head coach. I am appreciative of what he does and of what everybody else does. It was a good weekend for Scott and I’m sure he goes into the game with a lot of confidence.’

That is true of all Scotland’s players on the back of 11 straight victories in qualifying.

‘Let’s try and make it 12,’ said Clarke, whose side could become the first to book their place at Euro 2024. ‘We’ve come here for a positive result, without that mentality there is no point in turning up.

‘If you don’t want to play in a game like this then you shouldn’t be a top professional, that’s always my logic – you always want to play against the big teams, in the big games, big stadiums and big atmospheres.’


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