Neil Lennon: John McGinn ready to boost Scotland's World Cup hopes after scoring double in 2-2 draw with Celtic

Hibernian boss Neil Lennon claims John McGinn is ready to boost Scotland's World Cup hopes after scoring a stunning double in the 2-2 draw with Celtic at Parkhead.

Former Hoops player and manager Lennon was given a warm reception from the home fans before Callum McGregor, left out of Gordon Strachan's squad to some surprise for the upcoming qualifying double-header against Slovakia and Slovenia, drove in the opener in the 15th minute.

Two terrific strikes from McGinn after the break put the Easter Road ahead before McGregor levelled with 10 minutes remaining to extend Celtic's unbeaten domestic run to 58 games.

With Celtic midfield duo Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong out of the Scotland squad through injury, 22-year-old McGinn did his chances of adding to his four caps no harm.

Lennon, who described his return to Celtic Park as "emotional" said: "He's ready. He's played on the big stage out there so I don't see why not.

"Whether he starts or not is another thing. Gordon's showed a lot of faith and he's justifying that faith.

"John wins the ball back brilliantly at times and then there were times in the first half when he was just rushing his pass.

"Second half, I thought he was absolutely perfect. He drove the game, broke the play up, scored two magnificent goals and nearly created another from a corner.

"Everything about his game was what you want from a modern midfield player. I said he was worth £5million a couple of weeks ago - i think he's worth a lot more than that now.

"That boy McGregor's not bad either so he could get a call-up and wouldn't look out of place in that squad either."

Lennon also praised Celtic keeper Craig Gordon for denying Steven Whittaker from point-blank range in the 65th minute following a McGinn corner.

He said: "I don't think you'll see a better save all season than the one Craig Gordon produced.

"How he saved that is beyond me. He has his detractors at times but that was a truly world class save.

"I am very proud of my team and very proud of my players.

"We just didn't come and make life difficult for Celtic; we came here and played.

"The game could have gone either way so I'm very, very pleased to come away from here with a point."

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers admitted that Hibs had given his side their "toughest" domestic test.

He said: "There is no question of that. Firstly, great credit to the Celtic players, that mentality, strength and character really came through in the end.

"We have played so many games and the last three games away from home were difficult games, a lot of exertion and travel. I thought Hibs were excellent.

"They had pace in good areas, good strength, good power and a good week to prepare. So for us it was a great result."

Rodgers thought his side should have been awarded a penalty in the dying stages.

Substitute Scott Sinclair appeared to be tugged by former Celt Efe Ambrose inside the box but when his shot was saved by Hibs keeper Ross Laidlaw, but Rodgers claimed that Leigh Griffiths' subsequent overhead kick was blocked by the arm of Hibees defender Paul Hanlon.

He said: "I thought we should have had a penalty at the end. You work so hard to get yourselves back in the game. The player puts his arms up to block and (referee) Willie Collum is only six or seven yards away."


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