John McGinn 'came close to Hearts move before Hibs switch' - and says Dundee United passed on him too
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The 27-year-old, who teamed up with Alan Stubbs in the summer of 2015 from St Mirren and helped the Capital club to Scottish Cup glory in May 2016 and the Scottish Championship title the following year, was speaking on Darrell Currie’s Currie Club podcast about his time in Edinburgh.
"I left St Mirren after we got relegated. It was a terrible season for me and the club, and I decided I needed a fresh start,” he said.
"Nobody was willing to pay the transfer fee at that moment. Hibs were in the Championship and I wasn’t too keen to drop down, but my ego got a wee slap a couple of times when nobody was willing to pay it.”
It’s well known that McGinn headed for the USA to join Houston Dynamo until the transfer fell through, but the Aston Villa captain opened up on additional interest from Scotland before he eventually pulled on the green and white.
"Hearts had contacted me – Robbie Neilson phoned me when I was in Santa Ponsa and asked, ‘Do you want to come to Hearts?’
"I said, ‘yes’, and never heard from him again,” McGinn added.
"Dundee United had spoken to my agent and I thought I was going there but they signed Rodney Sneijder instead. I went to Houston, but that fell through due to red tape.
"St Mirren were then willing to do a cut-price deal which worked for everyone and thankfully [Alan Stubbs] phoned me one day when I was at the Kilbowie roundabout. I was nervous because I’d never been at another club.”
Stubbs pushed hard for the talented youngster to put pen to paper on a deal with Hibs but the Aston Villa captain wasn’t convinced at first.
"I didn’t want to sign but the gaffer kept saying, ‘I promise I’ll make you a better player’ and thankfully that was the case,” he recalled.
"No disrespect to any other dressing room I’ve been in, and the current one, but it won’t be matched. There were characters everywhere.
"It was a brilliant combination and probably the best decision I ever made.”