Scotland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was pleased his Hampden Park debut proved an uneventful affair in Sunday’s 6-0 triumph over San Marino.
McLaughlin was handed his first competitive outing by manager Steve Clarke in Sunday’s Euro 2020 qualifying match, with his only previous cap coming in a 1-0 friendly defeat at Azteca Stadium in June 2018.
Sunderland goalkeeper McLaughlin was born in Edinburgh but moved to Yorkshire as a child, and he says the chance to play at the Scots’ national stadium was a dream come true – despite the lack of match involvement against the world’s lowest ranked side.
The 32-year-old said: “It was a huge moment and a massive honour for me and my family. I might hide it with my accent but I am a proud Scotsman. I got a cap in a friendly against Mexico, but to get one for a qualifier, even though it was against San Marino, it doesn’t matter. To get a game at Hampden was fantastic. For my nerves it was probably better for me to have a quiet night, get a clean sheet and enjoy the experience.
“I don’t think I have had many quieter nights in my career. To be fair, I think that is the most running and stretching I have ever done to keep out the cold though. I covered more yards than ever before as well just to keep myself amused when I was standing in our half myself.
“We hoped that would be the case. The lads kept their concentration well and we kept fighting. At the other end we showed our qualities to get another three goals and get a really positive end on a disappointing week.”
McLaughlin will now return to a Sunderland side who are without a manager, following the dismissal of Jack Ross from the Stadium of Light post.
McLaughlin has sympathy for former St Mirren boss Ross, adding: “From the outside the size of the club, it brings huge expectations and that is fair enough, it is football. On the inside you know how difficult a job it is. We stand on quite a level playing field with a lot of the teams in our division. It isn’t easy to breeze over teams or anything like that.
“We have had a lot of draws and that has been an issue for us last season and this one so far. If we had turned a few of them into wins then we would be flying, it is small margins.
“At big clubs, and high pressure jobs, those fine margins count for a lot and for the manager it has been costly. As players, we have to look at ourselves and acknowledge we have let the manager down as well.”