SCOTLAND coach Steven Reid insists the availability of Aston Villa ace John McGinn will be a silver lining to the international football shut-down.

Reid admits that McGinn would have been ‘touch-and-go’ for the Euro 2020 qualification playoff against Israel, which was initially scheduled for March 26 at Hampden.

The winners of the that tie would have faced either Norway or Serbia for a place at the summer showpiece.

However, McGinn was facing a race against time to prove his fitness following three months out with a fractured ankle. The former Hibs favourite was back in light training prior to the enforced hiatus but has not played since December 21.

However, McGinn will be firmly back in contention when Scotland do finally host Israel on the road to the European Championships - which will now take place in 2021.

Reid said: “We’ve got a tighter, smaller pool of players so every weekend you are looking at the amount of minutes players are getting. Are they going to be available? We want our strongest players available.

“It’s a massive positive that the injury to John McGinn [will have cleared up]. When we do finally get to play this international game against Israel - whenever that might be - he is going to be back fit, you would like to think.

HeraldScotland:

“A couple of months ago it was looking like it’d be touch-and-go as to whether he would be fit for that game.”

The likes of John Fleck and Stuart Armstrong are thriving in the English Premier League, Billy Gilmour has been a revelation at Chelsea and Callum McGregor continues to be one of Celtic’s key men.

But McGinn, linked with a £50 million move to Manchester United earlier this season, is arguably the jewel in Scotland’s midfield crown.

And Reid is adamant he exemplifies what Steve Clarke wants from his Scotland squad.

He told The Athletic’s Ornstein & Chapman Podcast: “John McGinn has probably been one of our key, star performers since we have been involved in the management of the team. "His goalscoring and his attitude has just been spot on. He typifies the type of player you want in your international set-up.

“He loves being there, runs his socks off and leads by example. That is the type of player and the type of group that you want at international level.”