By Graham Hill
ASTON Villa boss Dean Smith revealed he had to pick John McGinn up off the floor after an International break to forget.
McGinn was on a high when he joined up with the Scotland squad for the matches with Kazakhstan and San Marino.
But a shock 3-0 defeat by Kazakhstan followed by an unconvincing victory over minnows San Marino brought McGinn crashing back to earth.
McGinn was substituted by former Villa boss Alex McLeish against Kazakhstan – and Smith was worried that this could dent his confidence at club level.
But he need not have worried.
Smith told reporters after the win over Blackburn game: “When McGinn came back to us from the Scotland games he was a bit down.
“He was disappointed. You go and represent your country and get beat 3-0 and he was disappointed about his own performance and the fact that they got beaten like that.
“But to be honest the day McGinn came back and started training he hit a 40-yard diagonal pass and I said: ‘ You’re back’. The smile returned on his face.
“It didn’t take him long. McGinn is a bubbly character around the place and he as thick as thieves with Jack Grealish. They’re as tight off the pitch as on it.
“McGinn’s a top player and we are lucky to have him at the club.
“That first half performance from the team was the best under my management here.”