John McGinn dreaming of becoming only second player to reach 100 caps for Scotland

Scotland stand-in captain John McGinn has set his sights on becoming only the second player in history to reach 100 caps for the men’s national side.

The Aston Villa midfielder, who now wears the armband for his club, will reach the 50 mark in the Nations League encounter against Republic of Ireland at Hampden on Saturday.

It will be the culmination of six-and-a-half years donning dark blue at senior level as the 27-year-old never envisaged could be possible when coming through the ranks at St Mirren.

“It’s certainly in the back of my head. Whether it’s possible or not I’m not sure,” McGinn said of the three-figure total for Scotland which has only been achieved by Kenny Dalglish.

“But we’ve got our eyes on Euro 2024 and getting there would be a huge help. Hopefully do three [warm-up] friendlies instead of two [if we qualify]... Whenever called upon, I’m always there. If there is a squad get-together, I love coming and I love being available.

"I do have it in the back of my mind but I’d much rather try and get to another two major tournaments before my legs go away from me. I will certainly be able to be called upon until I stop getting chosen and if that means 100 caps, or if it means 70 or 80, I am just proud no matter what.

“One would have been enough for me, after going to all the Scotland games and being with the St Mirren academy, I never ever thought I would play one game for the national team. To be approaching 50 is beyond my wildest dreams, and thankfully it is approaching…if the manager picks me on Saturday.

“There have been plenty of both [highs and lows]. After my first training session when Shaun Maloney nearly ruined my whole career by turning me inside out a few times, I didn’t think I would play. I’ve got so much to thank [Scotland manager at the time] Gordon Strachan for. The criticism he got when he put me in the squad, I’ll never forget it. But he told me to be myself and that I was in it for a reason, and from that point I’ve gone from strength to strength.”

John McGinn will reach 50 caps for Scotland against Republic of Ireland at Hampden on Saturday. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

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