Stephen O’Donnell revealed he tried to knock Jack Grealish off his game by charming the attacker during Scotland’s draw with England at Euro 2020.
Grealish was introduced in the second half in a bid to turn the game in England’s favour as the Three Lions struggled to break down a resilient Scottish side who were keen to make a point after a dismal opening game against the Czech Republic.
Scotland came away with a crucial point – their first of the tournament – and O’Donnell explained Grealish’s Aston Villa team-mate John McGinn had given him some tips on how to handle the talented playmaker.
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“By that stage of the game I was starting to get a wee bit fed up,” O’Donnell told Scotland’s official Youtube channel, with Grealish introduced in the 63rd minute.
“He was starting to play, he had just come on and was nice and fresh,” he added.
Normally, fresh wingers come on and you feel a bit tired. I just thought: ‘I am going to need to hit him here’. I was fed up of him trying to take the mickey out of me. I gave him a wee hit.
“Thankfully, John McGinn had given me some tips. He told me that if he comes on I need to get nibbling in his ear but don’t be critical, be complimentary.
“So the second he came on I was telling him how good looking he was, that I loved his calves and asking him how he got his hair to look like that.
“I was told if you kick him or get him really hard he gets back up and at you. Maybe that was the best way to get at Jack Grealish the other night.”
O’Donnell justified the faith Steve Clarke showed in the defender after he particularly struggled in the 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic.
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But the draw against England gives Scotland a fighting chance to progress as they prepare for their final group game against Croatia on Tuesday.
A win would be enough to see the Scots qualify for the next round and O’Donnell admitted the team was full of confidence after the England clash.
“We went to Wembley needing to stay in the competition. We managed to,” O’Donnell said.
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“The performance was very good but the most important thing at this level is the result.
To get the draw that gave us the opportunity to go into Tuesday to qualify was massive.
“There is relief we are still in this and there is more belief.
“We believe we are a very good side and we have good players in the team.
“Hopefully it will give us even more confidence to get one over on Croatia.”
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