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Wednesday 20 November 2019

McGinn hat-trick buzz

John McGinn. Pic: PA
John McGinn. Pic: PA

John McGinn was bursting with pride after he scored his first career hat-trick in Scotland's emphatic 6-0 victory over San Marino yesterday.

The Aston Villa midfielder netted all three of his goals in the first half as Steve Clarke's side ended their four-game losing streak in style against Group I's basement club.

Lawrence Shankland, who was making his first Scotland start, increased their lead 20 minutes into the second half before debutant Stuart Findlay and substitute Stuart Armstrong added gloss to the scoreline. But the game was already out of San Marino's reach at the break thanks to McGinn's treble, and he was delighted to achieve the milestone in a Scotland shirt.

After the game, he said: "I've never scored a hat-trick at any level, I don't even think at any age, so to do it tonight in a Scotland jersey is an amazing night for me, I'm proud.

"But the main thing was to get the result and get a convincing one and we did, so I'm delighted.

"It's right up there, I'm beaming. I didn't think I'd ever score a hat-trick so to have one in a Scotland jersey is just amazing and I'm absolutely buzzing."

Gareth Bale was Wales' saviour again as Ryan Giggs' side kept alive their Euro 2020 qualifying hopes with a 1-1 draw against Croatia in Cardiff.

Bale struck in first-half stoppage time - his 33rd goal extending his own Wales record - to cancel out Nikola Vlasic's ninth-minute strike for the World Cup finalists.

The draw leaves Wales' qualifying destiny out of their own hands heading into the final two rounds of games next month.

But wins away to Azerbaijan and at home to Hungary would be enough for a top-two spot, as long as Slovakia do not collect four points from their last two games.

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