ALAN Stubbs described John McGinn’s move to Aston Villa as the bargain of the transfer window as he paid a warm tribute to the Scotland international.

It was Stubbs, now at St Mirren, who signed McGinn for Hibernian from the Paisley club and went onto achieve three seasons, one promotion, a Scottish Cup win and now a move to Aston Villa for the best part of £3m.

Stubbs and the 23-year-old remained close and the Englishman yesterday revealed the class of his former player.

“I was at Celtic Park on Wednesday night and I didn’t leave the ground until late so I was still in the car park when I took a ‘phone call from John,” revealed Stubbs.

“He thanked me for everything I’d done for him, which was very nice but I told him: ‘Don’t thank me – thank yourself because you’re the one who’s done this.’

“But that sums him up as a person and I’m delighted for him. I wish him all the best and I believe that, at that price, he’s the snip of this transfer window.”

St Mirren are due a third cut of the fee which means almost £1m will be coming into the Premiership new boys, even if the manager himself is unsure how much he will get to spend.

And Stubbs, who has signed Danish striker Nicolai Brock-Madsen on a six-month loan from Birmingham City, has a game at Ibrox to look forward to and can't wait for Sunday to come.

“They are great occasions and I touched on this briefly with the players,” he said. “If you can’t look forward to going to Ibrox and Celtic Park and Easter Road and Tynecastle and Pittodrie then you shouldn’t be a professional footballer.

“For me, you don’t fear challenges – you embrace them. If you believe in yourself then you have the possibility of causing an upset.

“Obviously, if we were to win at Ibrox it would be a big upset but you see them week in and week out, teams going to grounds where not much is expected of them and they get a result.

“It’s up to me to give my players that belief but, ultimately, it has to come from themselves.”

As for McGinn, he thanked Gordon Strachan for having the ‘bravery’ to hand him his Scotland debut - and reckons his Aston Villa move can help him cement his international place.

And he also had a special word of praise for Stubbs.

“All my former managers and team-mates have had a massive influence on me in different ways,” said McGinn. “In the year that I started at Hibs, Alan Stubbs and Gordon Strachan were fantastic with me. They really started to get people to sit up and take notice.

“They ignored all the chat that was happening in the media.

“Gordon Strachan was brave enough to put me in the Scotland squad; he really believed in me and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

“And Alan Stubbs gave me the platform at Hibs to go and show what I could do.

“But, equally, [as has] every manager that I’ve worked under - even Neil Lennon there, he was different class.

“I’m very fortunate to have worked under great managers and I’m looking forward to working under another great one.”

Lennon has branded McGinn a ’superstar’ and ‘irreplaceable’, and insists he will rank as one of Hibs’ best players of the last three decades putting him alongside Leith legends Scott Brown and Franck Sauzee.

However, the Scotland internationalist has been more modest in describing his talents to his new club and their supporters.

He added: “I’m not quite sure about a superstar but I think I can bring something different.

“I’ve got a very unique running style, as the supporters will soon find out.

“Someone once described it as if it looked like I was chasing a helicopter!

“I’m all elbows, I like to get stuck in, but I feel like I can play as well.

“Hopefully I’ll get the chance to show everyone what I can do and bring something different, and a lot of energy to the midfield, which is what I’m known for.

“I’m excited to show everyone what I can do and hopefully impress.”