John McGinn relishing marathon season with Hibs
For the likes of midfielder John McGinn, there has never been a season like it, with games coming thick and fast and precious little time to recharge batteries in between.
Already clocking up a half century of matches, he and his colleagues have stretched the season further by booking a place in the Scottish Cup final and are targeting the play-off final, which they hope will prove their route back to the big time. That would mean a campaign well in excess of 60 matches.
“It has been strange. I am not used to this amount of games but I’m not complaining,” said McGinn. “If you want to be successful in your career it’s something you have to get used to. You don’t see the top players moaning about it.
“We have a lot of staff at the club who are helping us with recovery, whether it’s massages or anything else like that. We have a great facility, we have a hydrotherapy pool. So we’ll be using them all to maximise recovery and to keep us as fresh as we can.”
Next up is the trip to Greenock to face Morton in the latest must-win league match. “I wouldn’t mind if I have to play 60 or even more,” added McGinn. “I would much rather playing like this and challenging at the top end of the table than playing 30 games at the bottom. If you tell yourself you’re tired then you’ll be tired. But I am 21, I still have energy, I still have legs. I feel a bit for the older guys but that’s not for me to worry about!
“When you have so many targets to achieve it’s easier when you know success isn’t so far away. We only have a few weeks left so we can’t complain about tiredness. We just need to keep ourselves fresh and hopefully if we can do that we can get ourselves up and get a winners’ medal.” After a 114-year wait, a Scottish Cup victory would see them carve their names in the club’s history books. Without that, or promotion, McGinn says a season that has been brimful of promise, making the two biggest cup finals and earning themselves a shot at reaching the Premiership, would definitely be downgraded in the mind.
“It would just be a good season if that was the case,” he said. “We have a chance to make it a great season. Good players remember their successes and all the players in the dressing room are determined not to let this pass us by.”
As for the Scottish Cup, like every player who joins Hibs, the importance of ending the drought has been rammed home. “I’ve had that since I signed,” said McGinn. “I knew how important it was for Hibs to be successful in the Scottish Cup. For us to get to the final is a great achievement but it’s a chance for us to go down in history. It would be even more historical if we were to go up the same week. That’s something we’re desperate to do.”
Even then, McGinn could have to dig even deeper. An impressive part of Gordon Strachan’s plans when Scotland faced Denmark last month, he says he would forsake a longer break for a shot at France and Italy in the summer friendlies.
“It wouldn’t be too much at all,” he added. “If the manager was interested in putting me in the squads then I’d have no hesitation in going. It would be an amazing experience. But that’s up to the manager to decide whether I am good enough for his next squad. I will be ready if called upon.
“The Denmark game was massive for me. I was really nervous going into it knowing the other team probably didn’t know who I was. For me it was massive I was able to cope alongside players like that and know I’m not too far away.
“I still have a way to go but it was still a big confidence boost for me going back to Hibs knowing I had done okay and that I could maybe be involved in the future.”