John McGinn remembers putting Hibs first as transfer saga with Celtic and Aston Villa dragged on

John McGinn’s transfer saga dominated summer 2018 – before the Scotland international midfielder finally moved to Aston Villa.

But the 26-year-old has revealed how he put Hibs first while waiting for his future to be concluded – and to the potential detriment of his European ambitions.

McGinn was poised for a move to Celtic and was told to avoid cup-tying himself by playing in a Europa League qualifier against NS Runavik in the Faroe Islands.

Hide Ad

But as the Parkhead side dragged their heels on a £3million move – and Villa waiting to swoop in and take the midfielder to England and the Premier League – McGinn opted to play and score in a thrilling, high-scoring match that Hibs won 6-4.

John McGinn of Aston Villa celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park on April 21, 2021 (Photo by Carl Recine - Pool/Getty Images)

“I’d been told, ‘Celtic are going to make an offer today’, and not to play - I’d be cup tied for the European games coming up for Celtic.

“So I’m waiting all day, nothing happens.

Hide Ad

“I just thought, ‘You know what? I’m playing. Nothing’s happened’.

“I scored that night and it was a good performance in a bit of a wild game.”

Hide Ad

That would have ended his European adventures regardless with Villa not involved on the continent and being cup-tied for Celtic.

However McGinn was sure to do the right thing by his Easter Road team-mates after moving from St Mirren.

Hide Ad

“It ended up a waiting game and I ended up back with Hibs for pre-season. They were amazing. It’s not a popular decision if you go from Hibs to Celtic. But everyone had an understanding that it was what I wanted and respected that I wouldn’t kick the door down,” he told the Graham Hunter Big Interview.

“I wouldn’t want to ruin what I’d built at Hibs”

Hide Ad

By the time an agreement was reached with Celtic McGinn had made up his mind on a £3m move to the Midlands – but remains a popular figure amongst the Easter Road support.

“The hard moment was speaking to my mum and dad, we’d resigned ourselves to defeat with Celtic.

Hide Ad

“Maybe in the future you never know, but that’s something I can’t affect now. It’s passed.

“Villa got a takeover and we went to the training ground and the stadium and the way I was treated was perfect.”

Hide Ad

Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today