Scotland tried to torment England’s Jack Grealish by bombarding him with compliments, on the advice of John McGinn.
When Grealish arrived in the 63rd minute on Friday against Scotland, full-back Stephen O’Donnell may well have been thinking the worst.
O’Donnell was booked for a tackle on the England man, but it the whole he stood up well to the Aston Villa attacker.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke hailed the performance of the Motherwell defender. And revealed McGinn, a close pal of Grealish’s at Villa Park, told him how to wind him up.
“By that stage of the game I was starting to get a wee bit fed up,” said O’Donnell after being booked. “He was starting to play, he had just come on and was nice and fresh,” the defender told the Scotland team’s YouTube channel.
“Normally, fresh wingers come on and you feel a bit tired. I just thought: ‘I am going to need to hit him here.’ I was fed up of him trying to take the mickey out of me. I gave him a wee hit.
“Thankfully, John McGinn had given me some tips. He told me that if he comes on I need to get nibbling in his ear but don’t be critical, be complimentary.
“So the second he came on I was telling him how good looking he was, that I loved his calves and asking him how he got his hair to look like that. I was told if you kick him or get him really hard he gets back up and at you. Maybe that was the best way to get at Jack Grealish the other night.”
Scotland face Croatia on Tuesday, knowing a win at Hampden Park should take them through to the knockout stage. The Guardian claims there is a confidence in the camp, but they will have to do without Billy Gilmour.
“We went to Wembley needing to stay in the competition. We managed to,” O’Donnell added. “The performance was very good but the most important thing at this level is the result. To get the draw that gave us the opportunity to go into Tuesday to qualify was massive. There is relief we are still in this and there is more belief.
Armstrong going for the win
“We believe we are a very good side and we have good players in the team. Hopefully it will give us even more confidence to get one over on Croatia.”
Stuart Armstrong is sure that Scotland can progress, despite them not yet scoring a goal.
“It would be a problem if we weren’t creating any chances,” Armstrong said.
“We have had quite a few chances, so it’s just those fine margins that will take us to the next level and will get us a goal, which we do need on Tuesday.
“We have to win and a draw is no good. It’s pretty straightforward.”
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