BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs has lauded John McGinn’s maturity after admitting the midfielder earned his 20 minutes of respite against Dundee United.
The Scotland under-21 captain was withdrawn midway through the second half of the Hibees’ 3-0 League Cup win over United on Wednesday night, having informed Stubbs that slight fatigue was kicking in.
Including international commitments, that midweek triumph was McGinn’s eighth match in 30 days, having cemented his place as an integral figure for club and country.
And, despite joking that he would have said “so what?” if the game had still been in the balance, the Hibs manager praised the youngster for displaying the wherewithal to know when he required a break.
McGinn will, however, be back in the heart of the action when Hibs face his former club, St Mirren, this afternoon.
Stubbs said: “John is so honest that he would just carry on [if struggling] but he was just making us aware that he was feeling tired at that stage and, to be honest, I’m glad he did tell us.
“He has had a lot of games recently – not just with ourselves, but Scotland as well. Because he has been so important, we have played him and his performances have been at a really high level.
“I think we can afford him a wee 20 minutes rest – it’s the least we could do!
“He wouldn’t have complained if I’d told him to carry on – and if it’d had been 1-0 at the time I would probably have said ‘so what?’ and told him to get on with it. But that’s a good sign of him knowing his body and how sensible he is as a footballer.”
Hibs’ handsome triumph over the dismal Dundonians was undoubtedly one of the most complete performances by the capital club since Stubbs took the reins last summer.
Stubbs admits he is conscious of the supporters’ desire to see that swashbuckling style on show every week, but he has cautioned them that the ‘Hibs way’ will need to take a back seat on occasion.
He continued: “I’m very conscious of the ‘Hibs way’, but unfortunately I can’t promise that every week! I’d like to, and the players would like to play that way every week, but you have to give credit to the other teams in this division.
“Yes, we are confident but there’s not an over-confidence there, where the players just think they automatically turn up and it will just happen.
“We know how difficult it is in the Championship. No matter who the opposition are, they have different elements and strengths you are going to have to cope with.
“The most pleasing thing they have won games differently this year. It has not always been pleasing on the eye, they’ve had to roll the sleeves up.”