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John McGinn insists Scotland know the prize ahead of them if they defeat Croatia in crunch Euro 2020 encounter

England's Harry Kane (right) and Scotland's John McGinn (centre).
England's Harry Kane (right) and Scotland's John McGinn (centre).

Scotland midfielder John McGinn insists the prize of reaching the knockout stages of Euro 2020 is all the incentive his side need ahead of Tuesday’s crunch Group D match against Croatia.

The Scots got off the mark with an impressive 0-0 draw against England at Wembley on Friday, after opening with a 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic on Monday.

That sets up a final group match against Croatia at Hampden, with their opponents having also claimed their first point of the tournament with a 1-1 draw against the Czechs.

McGinn is confident a victory will be enough secure a last-16 place as one of the four best-placed teams in third position in their group.

John McGinn

He said: “The belief has been there. You’d be naive to think that in a festival of football we are not looking at all the other groups and eyeing up what we need from other teams, and if we need three points or four.

“The manager made it clear to us that he thinks we need four to get out of the group. We would have liked three against England to rely on a point on Tuesday, but the task is there for us.

“Almost certainly three points gets us through. It’s going to be an amazing occasion and hopefully we can do ourselves justice.

“The England game gave everyone an idea of what we are going to try and do going forward. That is to make it difficult for the big teams to play against us, but also prove that we can be a nation to be feared, and Croatia certainly won’t look forward to coming to Hampden on Tuesday.”

Around 20,000 Scots made the trip to London, although less than 3,000 had tickets for the much-anticipated encounter against Gareth Southgate’s men.

Scotland supporters in London.

McGinn was thrilled to repay the Tartan Army, adding: “I normally like to get an afternoon nap when a game is at 8pm. The excitement of the occasion was hard to ignore. When you see people doing belly slides in Leicester Square, you just want to get going and make the country proud.

“We felt the support. We were extremely hurt on Monday we didn’t give the nation the lift we were craving.

“Although it isn’t a win, it’s certainly a performance to be proud of. There were only 2,500 to 3,000 there, but it certainly felt like a lot more than that.

“We have another big day on Tuesday and hopefully it’s not the last game in the competition for us.”

Scotland boss Steve Clarke made four changes for the England game, most notably handing a first start to Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour who produced a standout performance in midfield.

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour was superb in his first start for Scotland.

Aston Villa player McGinn felt the performance underlined the Scots’ strength in depth, adding: “I was speaking to Jack Grealish after the game and we’ve got a brilliant squad, and an understanding squad.

“The team spirit and unity is what has got us here. The manager has to make difficult decisions.

“It was an extremely strong bench and any one of them could have started. Full credit to the manager, I think he got it right but I don’t think he got much wrong on Monday either.

“It was just a couple of breaks that didn’t go our way, and a couple of brilliant goals from Czech Republic.”

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