Playing in Championship is harming Scotland chances of Hibs midfielder John McGinn, insists ex-Rangers captain Barry Ferguson



FORMER Scotland skipper Barry Ferguson reckons playing in the Championship is harming John McGinn’s international chances.

The Hibs midfielder has been a regular in Gordon Strachan’s squads since receiving his first call-up for the friendly against Denmark in March.

A man-of-the-match performance in the 1-0 victory showed he was not overawed by the step-up from club football to the international scene.


However, the 22-year-old has only a 14-minute cameo in last month’s 3-0 defeat to Slovakia to his name since then and was not even picked amongst the substitutes for Friday night’s defeat to England at Wembley.

Ferguson is a fan of McGinn and firmly believes he has a bright future ahead of him in a Scotland jersey.

But the ex-Rangers and Blackburn Rovers play-maker believes playing below the Scottish top-flight is stifling his development at international level.

Ferguson said: “I think the problem with McGinn with Gordon Strachan is he’s playing in the Championship just now.

“I think if he was playing in the Premiership he probably would be in the team.

“There is certainly a difference in quality (in the leagues) and that’s me not being disrespectful to the Championship, but there is a difference.

“But, for me, McGinn will be a future Scotland player, there’s no doubt in my mind.”

Meanwhile, Ferguson insists Scotland must return to making themselves hard to beat – even if it means adopting a more limited game-plan.


He believes the national team turned in a ‘good’ performance in going down 3-0 to England on Friday night, when he believes the players ‘gave everything.

And he has backed Gordon Strachan to stay on as manager, despite the Scots now sitting fifth in World Cup qualifying Group F with just four points from four matches.

However, the former Rangers and Blackburn Rovers midfielder reckons a change in tack is needed if Scotland are to give themselves hope of qualifying for a major tournament again.

The 38-year-old told BBC Scotland: “The best (for me) was with Walter Smith and Alex McLeish. We were probably horrible on the eye to watch.

“But, I’ll tell you what, we won games of football.

“We were very hard to beat. It wasn’t great to watch but we knew how to get a result.

“That’s the problem with this team just now, they don’t know how to win ugly.

“Especially with Walter Smith and Alex McLeish we were drilled constantly, not to look good on the eye but to know how to get three points.”