McGinn’s strikes came in the space of just over half an hour from each other. (from minute 12-minute 45)
Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn scored the first ever hat-trick of his career as Scotland ended their four match losing sequence by emphatically beating minnows San Marino six-nil at a soggy Hampden Park.
McGinn, 24, was the first Scottish player to score three goals in the first half since Lawrie Reilly did the same in 1952.
Dundee United striker Lawrence Shankland and Kilmarnock defender Stuart Findlay, both marked their first starts for their country with goals, just after the hour.
Southampton midfielder Stuart Armstrong, who came on as a 70th minute sub for McGinn, completed the routine victory just 16 minutes after he had come off the Scots bench.
Scotland’s win moves them up to fourth place in Group I, above Kazakhstan and also relieves the pressure on coach, Steve Clarke following a 4-0 defeat to Russia, just three days ago.
With Cyprus having lost 5-0 at home against Russia, it now means that the Tartan Army are one point behind the side, who they face in Nicosia, on November 16th.
Steve Clarke’s men then conclude their qualifying campaign against the Kazakhs, three days later on November 19th at Hampden Park.
There is still a chance that Scotland can qualify for their first major tournament since the World Cup in 1998. This will come via the Euro 2020 play-offs, which start in March next year. The Scots earned the chance to progress by winning their Nations League group in November 2018.
The standings in Group I, following tonights’ results with only two games left.
- In all eight meetings between the two sides, Scotland have beaten San Marino by an aggregate scoreline of 27-0. The six -nil win for the Scots is the biggest winning margin of those eight victories.
- The Tartan Army doubled the number of goals that they have scored, with this comprehensive win over San Marino , compared to the first five matches of Clarke’s tenure, when they scored just three times.
- San Marino have now let in 43 goals across the eight 2020 European Championship qualifiers they have played, which is seven more than in their 10 games in qualifying for the 2016 finals (36) .
- McGinn scored the fifth hat-trick by a Scotland player this century, and the first since James Forrest achieved the same feat against Israel in a Nations League match in November last year.
- This was the biggest win by Scotland in any competition since the 11th October 2015, when they beat Gibraltar 6-0, in a 2016 European Championship qualifier.