Aston Villa play-off hero John McGinn makes Celtic claim after Derby win – 'I took a risk'

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McGinn was named as the Man of the Match at Wembley in Villa’s 2-1 win, and scored the second goal after Anwar El Ghazi’s opener.

In doing so, the Scot capped off a brilliant debut season in English football, having emerged as one of Villa’s leading stars after joining from Hibernian last summer.

The midfielder had been a target for Brendan Rodgers at Celtic, and the Scottish champions made three bids during July.

All of the bids were rejected, and McGinn was left with the difficult decision of whether to sit it out and wait for Celtic to come back in for him again, or move elsewhere.

After continuing to turn out for Hibs in their Europa League qualifiers, the central midfielder decided to opt for a move to England, sealing a four-year deal at Villa Park.

Speaking after his play-off final heroics, McGinn told The Scottish Herald that he was glad he took the risk of leaving Scotland.

“It’s just a dream to be honest,” he said.

“I had the option of going to a couple of Premier League clubs last summer, but they could not guarantee me games.

“So I took a risk and came to Villa, which is a bigger club than the others anyway. Villa guaranteed me game time and my decision is justified and we will be in the Premier League next season.

“Sometimes in football you have to take risks. You have to challenge yourself.

“I think people maybe had a perception of me that I was just a hard working player, just a runner.

“Don’t get me wrong, I think I am that but I’ve got a lot more to my game than that.

“It took coming down to England to challenge myself against stronger, faster players to show I can offer a lot more. Hopefully I can become a big player for Scotland too.”

McGinn’s goal came 15 minutes into the second half, as he nipped in front of Derby goalkeeper Kelle Roos to nod in a header from close range after El Ghazi’s shot was deflected high into the air.

And the Scottish star described the feeling as surreal, whilst aiming a thin-veiled jab at the standards of refereeing north of the border.

“To score that goal was just surreal. I think I wanted it more than the goalkeeper,” he continued.

“Full credit to the referee, I think in Scotland and in the Championship the referee would have bottled it and given a free kick.

“But I didn’t foul him and when the ball went into the net it was the greatest feeling ever. I don’t know how I will ever recreate this feeling.”

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