Former Hibs boss 'tried to encourage Everton to sign John McGinn' as he admits disbelief at Celtic decision

Former Hibs manager Alan Stubbs admits he still can’t believe Brendan Rodgers didn’t ‘make the deal happen’ to sign John McGinn for Celtic before he moved south to join Aston Villa.

The Scotland internationalist moved to Easter Road in the summer of 2015 after leaving St Mirren, scoring 17 goals in 136 appearances and helping the Capital club return to the Scottish top flight and lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in 114 years.

McGinn was linked with a move to Celtic when it became apparent he would move on from Hibs but ended up signing for Aston Villa in August 2018. He scored the winning goal in the Championship Play-Off Final in May 2019, taking the Villans back to the English Premier League after three seasons in the second tier and has made more than 170 appearances in a Villa shirt.

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Speaking to Grosvenor Sport, Stubbs – who guided Hibs to that famous trophy win before leaving for an ill-fated spell as Rotherham United manager – admitted that five years on, he is still baffled by Celtic’s decision not to sign a player now valued at around £40 million.

Alan Stubbs and John McGinn pictured after Hibs defeated Dundee United in the Scottish Cup semi-finalAlan Stubbs and John McGinn pictured after Hibs defeated Dundee United in the Scottish Cup semi-final
Alan Stubbs and John McGinn pictured after Hibs defeated Dundee United in the Scottish Cup semi-final

“The best player I coached and managed was John McGinn at Hibs. He was a pleasure to work with. He had a fantastic attitude, always desperate to play at the top level. Celtic were interested, and I still don’t know why Brendan Rodgers didn’t make that deal happen because the fee would have been lower than the fee we would get if he had gone to England.”

Stubbs, who had two spells with Everton as a player and returned to their coaching staff after hanging up his boots, recommended McGinn to the Toffees – but the move didn’t transpire.

"I spoke to Everton when it became clear that Leann Dempster (then Hibs chief executive) was looking to lure one of the big boys to come and sign him. I told Everton to make the investment because I knew he would be a very good player and they could get him for £3 million. What’s he worth now? £40 million-plus?Typical Everton, they didn’t do it and now Aston Villa are reaping the benefits.”