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Villa’s John McGinn helped Scotland to World Cup qualifying win

Aston Villa star John McGinn helped Scotland get their World Cup ambitions back on track with a ‘must win’ victory over Moldova.

And that’s great news for Dean Smith after the player was forced to sit out the 1-1 draw with Brentford last week after testing positive for Covid-19.

The 26-year-old midfielder missed Wednesday night’s 2-0 international defeat to Denmark in Copenhagen due to isolating, but returned to training with the Scotland squad on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s match at Hampden.

Fortunately he was asymptomatic, revealing: “I didn’t get any symptoms.

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“I’m feeling fine. It’s been a tough ten days. I’m probably the worst player in the squad to be stuck in the house for ten days.”

Scotland boss Steve Clarke admitted before the match that the home nation needed the points to keep them in contention for qualification in October/November.

“We have to win, nobody’s shying away from that,” he said ahead of the 1-0 win, courtesy of a 14th minute Lyndon Dykes’ tap-in, in a game which he described as a pivotal moment in the group.

The victory moves Scotland up to third place in the table on eight points, behind leaders Denmark (15) and Israel (10).

McGinn was Scotland’s top scorer in their Euro 2020 qualifying group with seven goals and leads the way again in the current World Cup 2022 campaign with three so far.

The Villa man told The Scotsman: “There are three teams now battling it out for second. Israel play Austria on Saturday night so something has got to give there. It’s an opportunity for us to get a win at home against Moldova and get ourselves back in the mix.

“It is definitely still within our reach. It is up to us to go and grab it and give ourselves a chance to get through to the World Cup via the play-offs. It’s the hard way, but it’s the Scottish way and hopefully we can do it that way.”

Read more:‘Poison in the brickworks’ – Former Aston Villa skipper on his troubled spell at Villa Park

Read more:Aston Villa could seal transfer coup and reignite Bayern Munich star’s career

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