St Mirren skipper Stephen McGinn has spoken of his pride after watching his younger brother bag a hat-trick at Hampden.

Former Buddie John McGinn struck three times against San Marino in Scotland's 6-0 win at the weekend - the latest achievement in a fantastic season for the 24-year-old.

From tearing it up at Wembley in the English play-offs to bossing midfields with Aston Villa in the Premier League, McGinn has gone from strength to strength since his arrival at the Birmingham side from Hibernians last summer.

And while elder brother Stephen is delighted for him, he is now way surprised to see him reach the very top of the game and has backed him to go as far as he wants.

Speaking to Gazette Sport, Stephen said: “It’s weird with John. When I watch him in these big games, I don’t actually carry any nerves. He seems to just take to the bigger the stage. I actually spoke to him the night before [his Scotland hat-trick] and I knew he was playing up close to the striker.

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“I said to him 'It’s a good chance to add to your goal tally' without expecting him to get a hat trick but when he got the one and then the second, you sensed it was there for him. I am absolutely delighted for him and really proud.

“You almost get used to it, especially with him now playing for Aston Villa and playing against the best players in the world. When he scored the hat-trick, you take a step back and think 'that’s my wee brother' - I’m just delighted for him. 

"It’s something I always felt with John, and I’ve said it before publicly, if he hadn’t reached those levels then he wouldn’t have reached his full potential. I always felt he would get to those levels if he kept his head down and worked hard. He’s got a real hunger for it - the sky is the limit for him.”

The Gazette: Former Saints midfielder John has gone from strength to strength since joining Villa last summer Former Saints midfielder John has gone from strength to strength since joining Villa last summer

Focusing on his own career, St Mirren's 30-year-old captain played a vital part last season as his side retained their Premiership status by virtue of a penalty shootout victory against Dundee United. 

But, after recovering from an injury picked up in the BetFred Cup, he hasn’t played a minute of football in the league so far this campaign. 

However, following a few regrets earlier in his career, the veteran is willing to bide his time until his chance comes around again.

He added: “It’s been frustrating going from playing such a big part to not playing any minutes in the league, but I’ll just wait my turn and work as hard as I can and try and help the boys when I’m called upon. 

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"I struggled with it more when I was younger in my career and I probably dealt with it in the wrong way. I’m probably at that age now where experience and knowing the only way to turn it around is to just work as hard as you can and support the boys because it does turn. When you get your chance, you just need to be ready to take it.

”I have played a big part here over the years and I still think I can play a big part, I’m sure I’ll get my chance. 

"You go from a member of the squad to almost like a member of staff. You feel like you have a just taken up a membership of the gym for a year. At times, earlier in my career, I fell out of favour with the manager and I probably have one or two regrets about not just keeping my head down. So that’s what I’m trying to do now. 

"We always carry a small squad with St Mirren so with injuries and suspensions you will always get your chance - I’ll be ready to take it wherever it comes.”

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