John McGinn feared his brilliant late equaliser would be ruled out for offside

Gavin McCafferty, PA
·3-min read

Scotland midfielder John McGinn admitted he expected an offside flag after his stunning late equaliser against Austria.

McGinn’s overhead kick secured a 2-2 draw against Austria in the opening World Cup qualifier at Hampden.

Sasa Kalajdzic twice put Austria ahead in the second half but Grant Hanley headed the first equaliser before McGinn struck in the 85th minute.

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The Austrians appealed strongly for offside but replays showed McGinn was half a yard on.

“Relieved,” the Aston Villa midfielder said when asked how he felt after scoring. “Relieved I have not broken my neck.

“I thought I was offside. I was just waiting on the flag going up. VAR down the road has got a lot of negatives but the positive is you are trained and you are used to just putting it in the back of the net and dealing with it after.

“A little bit unexpected but delighted to end my goal drought for club and country, it’s been a long time since I scored. So a relief in that sense and a relief to grab a point in the end because I don’t think we deserved to get beat.

“It was a really important goal and a real test of character for us. Before we could easily have crumbled and lost three or four.

“They are a good team, it took us a while to get into the game. But we had belief that we’ve got good players and could get into the game, and started to show that. A good point in the end and something to build on.”

Steve Clarke also expected a flag but felt his side got what they deserved, and also agreed Ryan Christie should have had a penalty after a defender wrapped his arms around him.

“My first impression was he was off, the Scotland boss said. “I looked at the linesman on the far side. But he got the decision right, he was on.

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“We kept the ball alive from a set-play and John produced a great finish. Overall a draw was fair and we deserved a point.”

Clarke added: “I thought it was a good game between two good teams. When you have to come back twice, it shows the character in the squad and shows they want to be successful for their country.

“Although we wanted three points, having been behind twice we will take the point and move on to the next game.

“We created some good chances, got into good positions, fizzed a few across the face of goal and looked a threat going forward.

Steve Clarke
Scotland boss Steve Clarke congratulates John McGinn following his stunning late leveller (Jane Barlow/PA)

“On the flip side, we conceded two goals which we don’t normally concede too many so there’s a little bit of work to do defensively.

“But with the ball we were decent and when we conceded the first goal I thought we had decent control of the game and started the second half pretty well.

“To be fair, the way we set up just needed to be tweaked and I tweaked it after 20-25 minutes, moved Ryan a bit more forward and dropped Stuart Armstrong a bit in behind and it seemed to give us more control.

“We finished the half well and started the second half well, and got hit by a bit of a sucker-punch. But we reacted well.”

Franco Foda
Austria head coach Franco Foda felt his side should have been celebrating the win (Jane Barlow/PA)

Austria head coach Franco Foda felt it was two points dropped for his team.

“We expected a difficult game, it was intense, a lot of battles but that’s what we expected,” he said. “They were quite dangerous.

“It feels a bit like we lost two points but we showed a great mentality.”