McGinn: Georgia 'at it' in trying to get sodden qualifier called off

Scotland held their nerve after a 90-minute delay at Hampden to edge closer to booking their place in Germany next summer.

John McGinn joked Georgia were “at it” in attempting to get Scotland’s rain-soaked Euro 2024 qualifier called off with the hosts leading 1-0 at Hampden.

A biblical downpour in Glasgow prompted referee Istvan Vad to pause the match for 90 minutes after initial suggestions of ten and 20-minute delays while ground staff attempted to remove standing water from the pitch following a farcical opening nine minutes which saw Calum McGregor fire the Tartan Army in front.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke and opposite number Wily Sagnol both raised concerns over the safety of players during the opening stages, but Hungarian official Vad was determined the game would go ahead after a long delay.

Scott McTominay would add a second two minutes into the second-half with his fifth goal in four qualifiers before Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia skied his late penalty over the bar as the home side preserved their perfect start.

Torrential rain in Glasgow meant the opening exchanges were played in farcical conditions. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)SNS Group

McGinn said the players were given mixed messages about whether the game would restart, though admitted his side “would have tried the same thing” if they found themselves a goal behind.

“The message was concentrate, but I wasn’t doing much concentrating,” he laughed.

“I didn’t know what was going on. One minute it was ten minutes kicking off, then 20 minutes, 30 minutes; it wasn’t fair on the fans.

“It was a really strange night, but we dealt with it in the best way possible.

“I think the game could have been played a bit earlier, but Georgia were up to it, they were at it, they wanted it stopped.

“Credit to all the ground staff who got together, the ball boys even getting involved at one point to get the game on.

He added: “We would probably have done the same thing, but thankfully common sense prevailed and we got the game played.”

Midfield partner Billy Gilmour described the conditions as “surreal” and praised the Scotland fans for staying behind to roar their team over the line.

Kvaratskhelia sent his penalty over the bar in stoppage time. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“It was crazy, one minute it was on, the next minute it wasn’t, we didn’t really know what was going on,” he said.

“Mentally it was tough, but credit to the fans for staying behind and the staff and the ball boys for clearing the pitch, it was a top night for everyone.”

Scotland now sit top of Group A with maximum points from their opening four games, knowing it is highly likely they will be booking their place in Germany next summer before the end of the year.

Only England, France and Portugal have similar records at this stage of the qualification campaign.

Scotland are top of Group A with four wins from four matches.

The Scots go to Cyprus in September knowing that a win would all but seal their passage to the finals before a trip to Spain and home meeting with Norway later in the year.

But McGinn insists the squad are not getting “carried away” by the potential of a second major tournament appearance in three years.

“The motivation for us was four wins out of four. It’s surreal for us to say that as Scottish players. We’re looking at the table now and we’re starting to get really excited,” he said.

“Spain have got games to catch us up. We’re wanting to qualify. We’re very, very close now, which is exciting in itself, but we’re not getting carried away.”

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