O’Donnell distracted Grealish by paying him compliments

Toby Bowles
Grealish O'Donnell England

Scotland right-back Stephen O’Donnell has revealed the bizarre way in which he attempted to distract Jack Grealish in Friday’s 0-0 draw with England.

O’Donnell, who plays his club football with Motherwell, was one of the standout performers as the Tartan Army secured a memorable result at Wembley, typifying a display full of spirit and quality.

England’s feted attackers barely laid a glove on the Scotland defence, with Grealish unable to alter the course of proceedings following his introduction from the bench in the 63rd minute.

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Speaking on Scotland HQ Live, O’Donnell has now suggested that the Villa captain’s lack of influence could have in part been down to his unusual method of unsettling him, which involved flattering him with compliments.

The defender claimed the idea was John McGinn’s: “I was just getting a wee bit fed up at that stage of the game, he’d just come on, he was nice and fresh.

“Normally when the fresh wingers come on that’s when you’re a bit tired so I thought ‘I just need to hit him here’, because I was getting fed up of him trying to take the mick out of me so I gave him a wee hit.

“Thankfully John McGinn had given me some tips, he said if he comes on you need to be nibbling in his ear but don’t be critical, be complimentary.

“So the full time he was on I was telling him how good-looking he was and I love his calves and asking him how he got his hair to look like that.

“He (McGinn) said if you tell him he’s hopeless or kick him really, really hard, he gets up and gives it back at you. Maybe that was the advantage over Jack Grealish the other night.”

The point keeps Scotland’s chances of progressing into the knockout stages alive, though only a win against Croatia will suffice.

“For us it was pleasing to get something out of the game but, to reiterate, it was to get something out of the game to give ourselves a chance going into the game on Tuesday,” Scotland boss Steve Clarke told The Scotsman.

“All our focus is now on that and trying to make sure we can create a little bit more history for the country.”