ASTON VILLA boss Steve Bruce revealed he believed John McGinn was heading for Celtic.

The Midlands gaffer had given up hope of signing the Scotland international midfielder – until the arrival of the club’s new owners allowed him to snatch the player.

Bruce admitted he has been a long-term admirer of the 23-year-old Hibs star, but was convinced he would go to Parkhead.

However, after four bids from the Scottish champions, Villa sneaked in following fresh investment from businessmen Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

Bruce said: “We’ve admired John from afar for a long, long time. A month ago, we didn’t think it was going to be possible because we didn’t think we could compete with Celtic.

“Celtic were in the box seat and put in a bid for him, but we weren’t in any financial position to be anywhere near it.

“So, we were just letting it go.

“But, thankfully, with the new owners coming in, we’ve managed to bring in McGinn and we’re delighted we’ve been able to do it.”

Villa paid a reported £2.75million for McGinn – an offer matched by the Hoops – and the player agreed a four-year contract at the Championship side.

Bruce added: “John will be a good acquisition. He’ll be a bit different to what we’ve got in midfield and he’ll do well for us, I’m convinced. I’m sure he’ll be a big favourite.
“He’s naturally left-footed, he’s strong and powerful, he can score a goal and he gets about the pitch and tackles people.

“He does all the things that a midfield player of today can do, so I’m delighted to have him here.”

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