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McGinn braced for possibility of brotherly battle in play-offs

THE end of the season is shaping up to be an exciting one for the McGinn brothers.

Stephen is part of the Sheffield United squad that will take on Hull City in the FA Cup semi-finals next month, while John and, back in Scotland, Paul could both be involved in play-offs.

It is a prospect Paul, the Dumbarton full-back, is presumably looking forward to rather more than his younger brother John is at St Mirren.

Danny Lennon's side visit Celtic this afternoon, desperate to extricate themselves from their current position of 11th in the SPFL Premiership. Should they finish the campaign there, they will need to beat one of the top sides from the Championship over two legs to retain their top-flight status. With Dumbarton a place outside the fourth and final promotion play-off spot in the second tier, there is a decent chance the McGinn brothers could be scrapping it out to decide who plays in the top division next season. John McGinn was supportive of the idea to introduce play-offs at the foot of the top division but has been left hoping he doesn't have to feature.

"I do think the play-offs are a good idea - just not for us," said the St Mirren midfielder. "When it was only the bottom side that went down, clubs like us were just playing for pride. Now we are playing for our status in the league.

"Even the team that finish fourth in the Championship have a chance of going up from the play-offs. It adds a bit of extra spice but hopefully we can claw our way out of where we are.

"It would be interesting if we came up against Paul although I don't know if I would like tracking him up and down the wing. So that is one - I will be hoping to avoid. I hope both of us will be in the Premiership next year."

St Mirren felt they had turned the corner when they followed a home win over Kilmarnock by racking up a 2-0 advantage against Dundee United last weekend. The loss of three late goals, however, left McGinn and his team-mates in the pits of despair.

"It was like a morgue, pretty depressing," said the 19 year-old. "I've never been involved in anything like that and can't really describe how disappointing it was.

"We were on such a high and then there was a big low. I have never been so low in football. Decisions went against us but we shouldn't let that affect us.

"We should still have held on. We collapsed and that wasn't good enough. You just keep playing it over and over in your head again. One goal and one [incorrect offside] decision affected us and the red mist went gone over a few boys.

"It has affected our performance and dragged us down a bit. That is not acceptable after having a two-goal lead - even a draw wouldn't have been good enough. So when the third goal went in it was just horrible."

Trying to stop the champions-elect on their own patch - St Mirren haven't won at Celtic Park since 1990 - is the next challenge.

"After last week nobody expects us to get anything and anything we do get is a bonus," McGinn added. "Aberdeen going there and winning shows Celtic are not indestructible so we know we can go there and get something."

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