JOHN McGinn bagged a first-half hat-trick as Scotland ended their four game losing run with an emphatic 6-0 win over minnows San Marino in a Euro 2020 qualifier that was played in torrential rain at Hampden tonight.

The Aston Villa man became the second man in a year to net three goals for the national team – Celtic winger James Forrest did so in the Nations League match against Israel back in November.

But the midfielder was the first man to achieve the feat for Scotland in the opening 45 minutes since 1952.

Lawrence Shankland, the Dundee United striker who was making his first start, Stuart Findlay, the Kilmarnock centre half who was making his debut, and Stuart Armstrong, who replaced McGinn, all netted in the second-half to make this a satisfactory evening for manager Steve Clarke.

The triumph over the bottom-placed side in the FIFA world rankings may have been meaningless as automatic qualification is no longer possible, but after heavy defeats to Belgium and Russia it will have lifted the spirits of the Scotland players all the same.

Andy Robertson and his team mates can go into their Group I matches against Cyprus away and Kazakhstan at home next month in a more positive frame of mind.

Clarke handed a debut to Findlay and second caps to Mikey Devlin of Aberdeen, Sunderland keeper Jon McLaughlin and Shankland.

Aldo Simoncini, the San Marino keeper, produced great saves from Shankland and then Forrest in the opening 10 minutes to keep the scoreline level.

But he was unable to get a hand to a Ryan Christie shot which McGinn got the slightest of touches on in the 12th minute as the home team finally opened the scoring.

Scott McTominay, returning to the side after a suspension, was booked by French referee Jerome Brisard in the 25th minute for a foul on Nicola Nanni

But he set up the second goal two minutes later when he squared across the face of goal. Simoncini palmed it into the path of McGinn who had the simplest of tasks to score his second of the evening.

The Tartan Army members who had braved the heavy rain were hoping for a deluge of goals, but breaking down opponents who put all 10 outfield players behind the ball was not without its difficulties.

Simoncini was certainly in inspired form – he denied McTominay in the 32nd minute with an excellent one-handed save.

His opposite number McLaughlin was called on in the 34th minute when Filippo Berardi broke upfield and tried his luck from long-range.

McGinn bagged his third just before half-time when Findlay got on the end of a Ryan Christie corner and headed the ball into the six yard box. His team mate pounced and turned the ball in from a few yards out.

The downpour turned the Hampden Park pitch into a puddle and made stringing passes together nigh on impossible for both sides.

But Scotland didn’t let it deter them and they forged further in front with two more goals in the space of three minutes.

Shankland netted his first international goal after McTominay had struck the crossbar from outside the San Marino area and Findlay scored on his debut when he headed home a Christie corner.

Clarke put on Johnny Russell for McGregor and Armstrong for McGinn in the 70th minute. The latter netted a stunning free-kick with four minutes of regulation time remaining after Simoncini had picked up the ball outside of his area.