Just four minutes remained when McShane, a defender better known for his wholehearted approach than his silky skill, displayed a deft touch before volleying into the roof of the net from an acute angle.
McShane’s manager, former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam, compared his captain’s effort to Van Basten’s iconic strike for the Netherlands against the USSR in the 1988 European Championship final.
McShane conceded his effort wasn’t in that class but enjoyed the comparison.
He said: “It wasn’t quite as good as Van Basten but it was dropping and I just thought I’d take a touch and hit it on the volley. Thankfully, it’s gone into the roof of the net.
“It’s a great feeling to score but to get the three points and the clean sheet was the most important thing.”
Hailing McShane, Stam said: “Paul gives everything for the team. He’s working very hard and he always wants to have the result. He got that ball in front of goal, controlled it, took his time - like a proper striker - and smashed it in.”
McShane had actually started the game on the bench but was brought on after just 28 minutes in place of debutant Liam Kelly. It was a chastening moment on what should have been a special day for the 20-year-old, a player who has appeared for Ireland at underage level.
Stam said the change was tactical and doesn’t expect it to hamper Kelly’s confidence.
“Liam is a true professional,” said Stam. “He knows what we think of him as a player - that’s why he started the game.”
Elsewhere, Chris Hughton’s Brighton won 1-0 at Wigan to climb to second while Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich dropped to 17th after losing 3-0 at leaders Newcastle.
In League One, Billy Clarke was on the scoresheet as promotion rivals Bradford City and Sheffield United drew 3-3 while Simon Cox netted in Southend’s 3-0 win at the MK Dons.
In League Two, a brace of penalties from Graham Carey helped leaders Plymouth to a 3-1 win at Newport County.
And in the Scottish League Cup semi-final, an Adam Rooney header put Aberdeen on course for 2-0 win over Morton and set up a final clash with Celtic next month.