STEVE BRUCE has confessed he had given up hope of being able to sign John McGinn – until the arrival of Aston Villa’s new owners allowed him to snatch the Scotland star from under the noses of Celtic.

The Villa manager revealed he has been a long-term admirer of the midfielder but fully expected the 23-year-old to end up at Celtic this summer.

However, with the Hoops not being able to conclude a deal with Hibernian, much to the annoyance of Parkhead boss Brendan Rodgers, it left the door open for this week’s swoop following fresh investment from new owners 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.”

Celtic had repeated bids for McGinn turned down by Hibs as they did not meet the Edinburgh club’s valuation and Bruce is convinced the former St Mirren player will now prove a success south of the border.

He added: “He’ll 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 see him here.”