Alan Stubbs today admitted John McGinn’s value has soared after the midfielder turned in a man-of-the-match performance on his international debut – but insisted he is only interested in the 21-year-old’s worth to Hibs.
The Easter Road club forked out a six-figure compensation fee to lure McGinn from St Mirren on a four-year conract last summer, the player since emerging as a key figure in Stubbs’ plans and his performances such he earned a call-up from Scotland boss Gordon Strachan for this week’s friendly against Denmark.
But, while agreeing that McGinn is fulfilling the potential he and his backroom staff had identified in the youngster, Stubbs is adamant that he is far from the finished article, saying: “This is the beginning of his improvement, not the middle or the end of it.”
Describing McGinn as a “young boy who had been given the freedom of a sweet shop” as he spoke to him after his Hampden super show, the Hibs head coach said: “We felt John was not just an investment but with the potential to be better than he was showing. You are never 100 per cent sure how they will work out, but we were quite confident he had a lot of ability to progress.
“We worked hard to get him in. There were a few interested, but it was an interest rather than going any further while we were adamant, not forceful, but very positive in making steps in trying to sign him.
“The board have to take a lot of credit for stumping up the money to bring him in and now they have done that they have a real asset on their hands. That’s what we want to do, to bring in young players as well as older ones but we want players to help the club on a financial level and to an extent they are an investment, that’s how football works. To buy for the short term is something only the really big club can do, we have to keep recycling and finding the next gem if we can.”
While McGinn’s value has obviously increased significantly from the £200,000 Hibs paid Saints, Stubbs insisted: “Let others decide what he is worth. The most important thing is that he is worth a lot to the team.
“The value to me is irrelevant just now because the one thing it is doing is going upwards – but his value to the team is going upwards.”
And Stubbs was adamant it’s McGinn himself who deserves the greatest credit for the spectacular rise in his career, saying: “We have just done what we would with any player, given him an environment to better himself and we’ve given John a programme where he can improve and certain aspects of his game he can work on. John wants to be the best he can in everything he does and when you have that you have a chance of being a top player.”