Sometimes small acts make a difference, sometimes small acts get noticed by some of the biggest names in the game.
Ability on the pitch is not always the quality that makes a player stand out to top managers – but occasionally their humble nature off it does the trick.
That was the case for John McGinn’s first call-up to the Scotland squad under Gordon Strachan in 2016.
Having seen the now-Aston Villa midfielder offer to help Scotland physios with equipment while with the U/21s, Strachan called up the youngster to fill a gap in his senior squad.
From there, McGinn hasn’t looked back with 10 goals in 36 caps to date.
— No Context McGinn | Parody (@NoContextMcGinn) August 22, 2021
Similarity with Max Anderson
Now technical director at Dens Park, Strachan spotted something similar with Dundee’s up-and-coming midfielder Max Anderson.
The 20-year-old returned to the first-team fold against Hibs on Sunday and played a part in the opening goal for Jason Cummings.
New to the Premiership but already making an impact, his manager James McPake doesn’t expect any success on the pitch to change the nature of the youngster.
McPake said: “Gordon Strachan picked up on it after the Forfar game I think, I spotted it as well, but he came in and said ‘Max Anderson was excellent today but what I loved most was he helped the sports scientist with the water bottles’.
“Now, he’d just played in the game and he’s carrying water bottles.
“People will say anybody can do that but it shows how level-headed he is.
“Gordon did a similar thing with John McGinn with Scotland. He’d spotted McGinn bringing kit off the bus and helping the coaches while with the U/21s.
“Two days later someone got injured and Scotland needed a player. Obviously they knew he was a good player but Gordon spotted him doing that and called him up.”
‘I’m delighted to see him doing well’
The Dens boss added: “Max is so dedicated to learning but he’s so humble I’m delighted to see him doing well.
“Sometimes you need to protect young players but I believe with Max, the way he is, you can probably say that.”