BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HIBS star John McGinn insists he is determined to make a blistering start to the Championship season and cement his place in Gordon Strachan’s Scotland set-up.
The 21-year-old enjoyed a sensational campaign last term, making 53 appearances, helping the Hibees to their first Scottish Cup triumph since 1902 and winning PFA Scotland Championship player of the year.
A breakout season was capped when he won man of the match on his international debut in a 1-0 win over Denmark.
McGinn was part of the squad which travelled to face Italy and France earlier this summer but a niggling injury meant he missed out on crossing swords with two powerhouses of the international game.
However, he hopes to be back in contention when Strachan’s charges embark on the road to the 2018 World Cup with a trip to face Mediterranean minnows Malta on September 4.
Hibs travel to face Shrewsbury this afternoon in their final pre-season friendly before their tilt at the Championship title begins next Saturday with a mouth-watering clash against Falkirk.
And McGinn said: “It was fantastic to make my debut for Scotland last season, now it is up to myself to push for a place in the World Cup qualifiers.
“I know it is not going to be easy, there are top players in that position. But I have confidence in myself and believe I can be in there in the future.
“The Malta game is something to target and work towards. The manager of any national team will want to pick someone in good form so it is vital I do well and start the league season in the right way for Hibs.
“If I’m lucky enough to get selected then I’ll be ready. Last season was the platform for me. I have set standards that I need to try to surpass. I can’t get lulled into a comfort zone or everything could fall apart for me.
“I have stability and a great chance to really kick on this season. I want to keep improving and that is what the manager and the coaching staff here have emphasised.
“I feel like I am developing with every passing day and as long as I keep working hard then hopefully things will keep happening for me.”