John McGinn admitted it felt “surreal” to have overtaken boyhood hero James McFadden as he moved up to seventh in Scotland’s all-time scoring charts.
The 28-year-old netted his 16th international goal when he set the Scots on their way to a 3-0 victory over Cyprus in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier at Hampden on Saturday.
It took McGinn ahead of Robert Hamilton and McFadden, who was a talisman for Scotland when the Aston Villa midfielder was younger.
“He (McFadden) is somebody I watched growing up,” said McGinn.
“I wanted to be James McFadden when I was a Scotland fan growing up so to surpass him is a bit surreal, a bit weird. I’m obviously delighted.”
McGinn is now within two goals of sixth-place Kenny Miller and within three of Ally McCoist. He needs another 14 to catch joint-record goalscorers Denis Law and Sir Kenny Dalglish on the 30 mark.
“In the house, I’m looking up the scoring charts but when I get here I’m just focused on trying to get us to the Euros,” said McGinn.
“No matter who scores, I’m delighted, but I do have my eye on it. Obviously you dream about being alongside those guys at the top. If I just keep plugging away and making the runs, the chances will come and then it’s just a case of whether I can take them.”
Asked if he envisaged becoming an international goal machine, McGinn – who has not scored for Villa since November 2021 – said: “No, not at all.
“I just need to focus on trying to get one for Villa now. I’ve gone 46 without a goal for Villa, which is eating away at me. I decided to score after 20 minutes for Scotland so I’m sure I’ll be getting reminders of that when I get back down to Birmingham!
“I’ve no idea why I’m scoring for Scotland but not Villa. I’ve had opportunities down the road, I’ve just not taken them. It just seems to click when I come up here for some reason.”
Substitute Scott McTominay added two late goals to put gloss on the scoreline as the Scots won their opening qualifier for the first time since defeating Faroe Islands 6-0 at the start of the Euro 2008 campaign.
“It was a good win,” said McGinn. “We’re greedy and we want a better performance.
“I’ve been in a lot of games over the years where we’ve had that 1-0 lead and then the nerviness gives Cyprus some energy and chances.
“It could easily have gone 1-1 but we’ve ended the hoodoo of winning our opening game of the qualification. Even though I’m being fussy and picky, it’s a big three points.”
McGinn is relishing Tuesday’s match at home to top seeds Spain.
“We’ll go from being favourites to slight underdogs,” he said.
“I think the gap between us and Spain has maybe got a little bit shorter.
“It’s still a big gap because they’re a top team but we’ll definitely give them a tricky game here on Tuesday. I’m not sure they’ll look forward to coming here.”