JOHN McGINN has revealed he allowed Jamie Maclaren to take Hibs’ match-winning penalty against Rangers because he didn’t want to cause an on-field scene.
McGinn, who gave the Easter Road side the lead just before half-time, was Neil Lennon’s choice for the spot-kick won by Scott Allan just seconds after Sean Goss had hauled Rangers level in an engrossing encounter at Ibrox on Saturday.
However, Maclaren – who was earlier denied his first goal for Hibs by an offside decision in only his third appearance since joining on loan from Darmstadt last month – grabbed the ball and took over.
Rather than cause an argument, McGinn let the Australia internationalist assume responsibility for what proved to be the game’s decisive moment as Maclaren earned Neil Lennon’s side a hard-earned 2-1 win.
McGinn said: “Jamie’s a confident boy, he’s a goal-scorer. I don’t know whether the ‘goal’ he scored was onside or offside, but he’s a sniffer.
“The gaffer had shouted for me to take the penalty, but Jamie was confident and I didn’t want to cause a scene.
“I thought the goalie had saved it! But, thankfully, for my sake and for Jamie’s sake, the ball hit the back of the net.
“The boys just had to dig really deep. You find yourself looking at the clock, they’re putting a lot of pressure on you.
“We could easily have folded when they scored the goal, but we’ve managed to go up the pitch and Scotty [Allan] showed a bit of magic and we’ve earned the goal and the win.”
McGinn was full of praise for 18-year-old Ryan Porteous, who impressed on his first league start for the club in a makeshift three-man defence that also included 5’7’’ left-back Lewis Stevenson playing at centre-half.
And the Scotland internationalist, who performed most of the game as a left wing-back after Brandon Barker limped off in just the seventh minute, admits he is thrilled to have former team-mate Scott Allan back at the club after the on-loan Celtic midfielder won the pivotal second-half penalty.
The 23-year-old added to Hibs TV: “Scott lets me focus on what I do best, and that’s trying to drive the team forward with energy.
“Scott’s a different player to myself, and the same with Dylan [McGeouch]. It lets Dylan get on the ball and play.
“I think the three of us complement each other well in there.
“Scott can split defences, he’s always on the half-turn and he caused Rangers all sorts of problems.”