I just watched John McGinn play brilliantly for Scotland again. You guys know I do not like to indulge in all this nonsense about regrets but it’s a strange day because Peter Grant has been talking about this guy and the reason why he didn’t sign for Celtic.
And that reason is well known to many of us; it was because Lawwell played a bad hand terribly. It’s because he tried to low-ball Hibs and get one over on Rod Petrie by offering derisory sums for the player on the proviso that they would have to accept one or watch McGinn sign a pre-contract with our club in the coming January.
I say he had a bad hand because, in the first place, Petrie did not want to sell the player to Celtic.
But Lennon was the manager over there at the time and he knew McGinn was going to go in that window or in the one after it and he wanted the money for his own players. I have always been convinced that we could have used that to get the deal done.
But that would have meant Lawwell treating Hibs with a modicum of respect instead of thinking of himself as the best poker player in the land, which he certainly was not.
Aston Villa took full advantage of our dithering and moved in for him instead. McGinn had the choice between waiting for Celtic with all the risks that entailed or getting a decent move to England which he had not expected at that point in his career.
He did what he thought was best for his career, and when you consider the risk our CEO expected him to take that is something you simply cannot blame him for.
Grant thinks we didn’t make the move because Rodgers wasn’t convinced.
I can tell you right now that Rodgers was appalled by Celtic’s failure to get the player, who he regarded as a key target and a big part of his plans.
It came after he’d already been led down several times on the transfer front that summer. It was the cause of his angry reaction in the pre-match interview before the match against AEK Athens. Which prompted Lawwell’s own stupid response, which was briefing the BBC about how angry the Celtic board were on the night of the game.
John McGinn signed for Aston Villa the following day.
Peter Grant should speak to the people who know instead of guessing off the top of his head. Right up until the moment McGinn flew down there to meet with Villa Lawwell laboured under the delusion that the player would reject any other move than Celtic and that he would wait until January if he had to and sign a pre-contract.
Watching McGinn since it’s all about what might have been. It pisses me off.