Danny Lennon hopes he’s unleashed St Mirren’s next young hero – after handing midfielder John McGinn his competitive debut at the weekend.
McGinn came on for the remaining 15 minutes of St Mirren’s 5-0 SPL defeat at home to Celtic on Saturday.
And although it was a bitterly disappointing afternoon for Saints fans everywhere, the one crumb of comfort was the appearance of yet another product from the club’s widely-respected Ralston academy.
It was also the perfect belated birthday present for McGinn, who turned 18 just two days before the game.
He now follows in the footsteps of midfielder Kenny McLean and striker Thomas Reilly, who’ve both graduated from the Saints youth set-up and made their name at senior level.
Manager Lennon has now challenged McGinn, who is the younger brother of former Saints midfielder Stephen McGinn – now at Watford – to force his way into even more top-team appearances in the future.
Lennon explained his reason to blood McGinn during the latter stages on Saturday and said: “At that stage of the game, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to put the boy on and give him his debut.
“It’s something he’ll remember for a long time.
“John will gain from that experience against Celtic as he’s playing against the best – the highest in Scotland at this moment in time.
“On what was basically a poor afternoon, seeing John was one of the few positives to come out of it.”
McGinn had been involved in some first team action during pre-season and appeared on the substitutes’ bench on occasion – but he finally got his chance to shine at the weekend.
Lennon added: “That’s his first 15 minutes for us at competitive level and, hopefully, it’s the first of many appearances.”