By his own admission, John McGinn will watch the action from Hampden this weekend from behind the sofa. He hopes, though, that elder brother Paul isn’t quite so tentative as Hibs look to round off their season by lifting the Scottish Cup. 

The Aston Villa midfielder was part of the Hibs squad who won it in 2016 with the Easter Road side and would love to watch a repeat, regardless of just how nervous the viewing may be.  

His cheers this Saturday aren’t just for the affection he still holds the Leith side in but also for the affirmation that his sibling is a better player than he has ever got the credit for.

“Paul makes me extremely proud,” said McGinn. “When he signed for Hibs, underwhelming would be an understatement to describe the reaction from the supporters. It’s just nice to be sitting here knowing how big a part he is of that squad. There were plenty of critics and doubters throughout his career but I think he’s playing the best football of his career.

“Nobody has worked harder to get to this stage and hopefully he can do himself justice on Saturday. So many people have told him he’s not good enough or he can’t step up a level. He’s not a badge kisser, he’s not for show.

“He’s just a brilliant teammate. His attitude boots me and Stephen out the park. If we try and run with him in the summer we can’t keep up with him. He’s an amazing athlete. When he was younger playing right-back for Queen’s Park when Andy Robertson was left-back, you’d never expect the two of them to have the journeys they have.

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“Paul’s doesn’t quite match a Champions League winner’s but it just makes me proud because he could quite easily have chucked it. He could quite easily have thought he’d got his degree, he’d work outside of football. He thought he’d keep grafting at it, do the postman’s run on the Saturday morning before Queen’s Park and Dumbarton.

“I’d have never have done that but now he’s taken his game to that level where people will start looking at him thinking he can play and Hibs are lucky to have him. Thankfully the supporters realise that. For him I still don’t think he believes in himself as much as he could.

“He’s spoken before about it not being in his nature and teaching that into him is pretty much impossible – although I am trying! Hopefully he can start showing that arrogance with a wee stepover at the weekend.”

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s game it will be a different atmosphere to the open-top bus parade that McGinn junior enjoyed five year ago. Covid restrictions now mean there will no supporters inside the ground but the achievement will resonate regardless of the lack of audience. 

“For Paul, I’m just desperate for him to experience what I experienced,” said McGinn. “I know it’s going to be slightly different. The disappointing thing is gut-wrenching watching the semi-final and the final and there are no fans. I hope St Johnstone aren’t celebrating but if they were to win it can you imagine how their fans feel after a double win and there was no-one there to see it. It is a complete gutter but it is something we need to deal with.” 

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It would also be another gold star on the CV of Hibs manager Jack Ross. A third-placed finish and a Scottish Cup in the trophy cabinet would reflect well on Ross but for McGinn the importance of this season is that it is not a flash in the pan. 

It would be a crime for them not to have a trophy to show for it [this season],” he said. “Hopefully then they can build on it. The problem with Hibs is that they get a wee bit of success and they think everything is alright but now it is time to build on it and try and challenge Celtic and Rangers. Why not? That is the natural progression now. 

“Jack has been brilliant. I think he is someone that Hibs always had an eye on. I don’t know him as well as my brothers do but I have come across him a few times. There are bits of the Hibs team I would have loved to have put in my Hibs team. We were maybe a bit more exciting and had a bit more flair but we didn’t get the job done the way they do.

“This season, you look at Callum Davidson and that is an incredible job he has done. Steven Gerrard stopping ten-in-a-row has to be up there and I think my old team-mate Jim Goodwin has to be up there too this season. But if Jack won the Scottish Cup then there would be no arguments from me in terms of thinking that Jack was the manager of the year.”