JOHN McGinn last night confessed he is eager to climb even further up Scotland’s all-time leading goalscorer charts after moving ahead of Robert Hamilton and James McFadden with his first-half strike in the 3-0 win over Cyprus at Hampden.

However, the Aston Villa midfielder stressed he is more concerned with helping the national team to beat Spain in their second Euro 2024 qualifier in Glasgow on Tuesday night and reach the finals in Germany next summer.

Only Denis Law and Kenny Dalglish (both 30), Hughie Gallacher (24), Lawrie Reilly (22), Ally McCoist (19) and Kenny Miller (18) have now netted more times for their country than McGinn (16).

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The 53-times capped 28-year-old, who got on the end of a deflected Andy Robertson cross in the 21st minute to put Steve Clarke’s men ahead in the Group A opener yesterday, admitted that he would like to add to his international tally.

"I am delighted to get on the scoresheet again,” he said. “But I just wanted anyone to break the deadlock. These games can be difficult if you take too long to get the first goal. 

"It was good get to the early goal, but after that we didn't really build on it, which was frustrating. We need to be honest. If we want to get to the Euros we need to improve. If we want to move to the next level, we need to be better and we felt that walking off.

"We need to be brighter, we were a bit flat. I am being a bit picky as we won 3-0, but it was one of those days where it could have been 1-1. Maybe I am being harsh on us.

"There is plenty to improve on, but we have ended the hoodoo from the last few campaigns (Scotland had not won their opening European Championship qualifier since 2006 before yesterday) and started off with a win.

"As much as we know we can improve on the performance, that's a big three points. We are getting greedy. We want the performance and the result, but the main thing is the win.”

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Asked about moving into outright seventh place in the Scotland scoring charts, McGinn added: "I am aware of it, but I can't get distracted by it. The focus is to try get us to Germany, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have aspirations and dreams of getting as high up the ladder as possible and joining those names.

"I am just happy to contribute and help the team, but in a selfish way I am also happy to get that 16th goal. I was aware that I have overtaken James McFadden now. I have checked the list before! It's good and a bit surreal, especially as it took me 15 caps to get my first goal. But it's good to help the team and the main thing is we get to the Euros.”

McGinn was unhappy with the Hampden pitch – which was heavily criticised by players, managers and fans after the Viaplay Cup semi-finals back January – and expressed hope that it would be in better condition for the Spain game.

"We have to improve and I don't think we can use the gap between now and the last game as an excuse,” he said. "We have a settled squad now, we know what everybody is capable of.

"If we have any excuse it was the pitch - it was really tough to play on. I remember watching Celtic v Rangers a few weeks ago and it looked the same. It was tough to play on for both teams and it might not suit Spain! Hopefully they water it before Tuesday.

“It was just tough underfoot and slippy. A lot of the players were falling about, even big Angus (goalkeeper Gunn). It was difficult to play our stuff, but thankfully we clicked late on and got another two goals.”

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McGinn was impressed with the impact that Scott McTomninay of Manchester United, who replaced Ryan Jack of Rangers and scored two goals in the closing stages to clinch the three points, made in the game.

"Scott made a great impact and it was good to have that quality off the bench,” he said. “He was suffering with concussion at the start of the week and it was great to have him on. Ryan Christie and Lyndon Dykes were also great when they came on and there is competition for places now.

"We will give it a go against Spain and we were confident. They won't want to play us in the vein of form we are in. We will make it difficult for them, we will have our chances and we just need to take them.”

The former St Mirren and Hibernian player was impressed with debutant Angus Gunn – the Norwich City goalkeeper who took over from the injured Craig Gordon.

“I am delighted for Angus,” he said. “It was a good clean sheet for him, although he needs to work on his accent a bit. It was a calm performance and his kicking was excellent. Hopefully he can get another clean sheet on Tuesday.”