The decision to send him out on a season-long loan to Brentford until the summer of 2012, then in League One, was the beginning of the end of his Parkhead career. After that, he was allowed to leave free of charge for Aberdeen.
It would not be unreasonable to suggest, then, that McGinn might harbour feelings of revenge when he comes up against Hibernian in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden on Saturday, given that the manager who showed him the exit door – Neil Lennon – now hold the reins of the Leith club.
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McGinn is keen to end his five years at Aberdeen – he’s decided to move on from Pittodrie at the end of the season – with a winners’ medal on May 27.
The Euro 2016 winger is reluctant to criticise the current Hibernian manager, but will aim to knock Lennon’s Championship-winners off their stride on Saturday.
“Hibernian are a really good side,” he said. “hey have done well under Lenny. They are full of players we have played against before who have been in the league with us.
"It is a semi-final and it will be about who performs on the day. It is about showing up and taking care of business. We know we are in for a very tough day but it’s a game we are looking forward to.”
The 29-year-old fancies a shot at the English Championship, and while he plays his cards close to his chest, it’s believed Bolton and Sheffield Wednesday are interested in adding his creativity to their ranks.
Hearts tried to lure him to Tynecastle on a pre-contract agreement in January, his stock high after five years at Pittodrie in which he has developed into one of Aberdeen's most consistent performers.
Having known his Celtic career was over under Lennon, McGinn moved to Pittodrie, operating in his first season as a striker and scoring 21 goals under then manager Craig Brown. He has since reverted to his preferred role as a creative midfielder as his game flourished with Derek McInnes in charge.
McGinn said: "I was with Lenny for a couple of years at Celtic. Any time the opportunity came, I played quite a bit under him but there was a stage in the last six months when I didn't play.
"I knew my career was going elsewhere and I wouldn't change it for the world. Things have gone great for me since I moved to Aberdeen.
"Lenny will bring heart and determination to Hibs. He will have them playing the right football. He will know he is coming up against a good side in Aberdeen.
"We know he has done a good job and has a good bunch of lads, a good squad of players. We know we are for a very tough game.”