John McGinn has admitted that Scotland were just minutes away from their European Championship campaign ending.

Steve Clarke’s regime got off to a winning start but it took a last-gasp winner from Oli Burke to secure the three points, with McGinn well aware what the stumble would have meant for Scotland.

“We were probably moments away from the campaign ending,” said the Aston Villa midfielder. “I think everyone knew that. We had to show great character to come back and Oli popped up with the goal. The manager stressed all week how important the boys on the bench are and credit to big Oli for coming up with such an important goal. Now we have given ourselves a chance to qualify.”

Clarke was open about his ambitions to take four points from six from this double header, but while that sounds easy on the ear the task of going to Belgium tomorrow night and actually taking something is an entirely different thing altogether.

“They are still ranked the best team in the world and Eden Hazard has just gone for £130m,” observed McGinn. “We have to respect him and the team but at the same time if we want to get to a major tournament we have to go to places like this and get results. Wales do it, the Irish do it and it is up to us to start doing it. Hopefully, we can on Tuesday.

“It is not only Hazard, because they have several others. We will be working as hard as we did all week to stop them and hopefully get a good result. You can’t write off any game.

“I think in international football now, as you saw against Cyprus, there is no easy match. Every team is organised, they have technical ability and they can hurt you. Cyprus nearly did that to us so hopefully we can do that to Belgium.”

McGinn didn’t have his best evening in a Scotland shirt on Saturday but he could still claim an assist having set up Andy Robertson for a 25-yard effort that lit up what had been a fairly drab encounter.

“It was [a good goal] but it was all about the pass,” joked McGinn.

“I half thought about shooting and the old me might have. I just saw Robbo out of the corner of my eye so I gave the ball to him. That is the quality he has. That is why he has that Champions League medal.”

The obvious positive that came out of the game was the way in which Robertson and Ryan Fraser linked up on the left-hand side with Callum McGregor supplementing their attacking threat. And it is something that McGinn is confident Clarke can build on.

“We are lucky to have all three of them,” said the midfielder. “Robbo is a Champions League winner, while Ryan is probably coveted by the majority of the Premier League, so it is really important to have our best players out on the pitch and see them link up well.

“I am sure even Belgium won’t look forward to playing against that left-hand side. Hopefully, we can take that into Tuesday and give them a problem.”

That Scotland took all three points from Cyprus owed more to good fortune than it did to the performance. Still, though, it ensures that the momentum stays at the back of Clarke and keeps the campaign alive albeit that McGinn is cognisant of the need for improvement.

“The performance probably needs to be a bit more consistent,” he acknowledged. “We showed in spells what we can do but we need to make this place a fortress and put teams away earlier. We don’t want to have to rely on last-minute goals but no complaints.

“I think this squad is probably the strongest it has been for a long time. On a few trips we have had a lot of call-offs and injuries. I think it feels a lot more settled this time. Hopefully, we can get the players who are in form for their clubs to carry that on and start showing that for Scotland.”