THE benefits of John McGinn’s move to the English championship over a move to the Scottish champions may well be a point of debate, but what is not up for question is that turning out week-in, week-out for Aston Villa will be infinitely more beneficial to him than warming Celtic’s bench.

The likes of Scott Brown, Olivier Ntcham, Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor would stand between McGinn and a regular slot in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI, and that is the main reason the Scotland midfielder has given for his decision to turn down the club he supported as a boy, and where his grandad Jack was chairman, to join the sleeping giant of the Midlands.

With McGinn’s help, the signs are that Villa may be stirring, and that has only further vindicated the former Hibernian man’s decision to make the big leap south.

“I was so used to playing at St Mirren and then Hibs all the time, so it was really important that the next place I was going I was going to play,” he said. “Thankfully, the manager so far has shown faith in me to go and play. It’s a massive club with great aspirations.

“They are in a similar situation to Hibs when I joined them, the fans are sort of distant and slightly fed up with what has gone on and it’s up to us to change that.

“The only way we can do that is by getting results and getting the club back to the Premier League.

“I didn’t realise the scale of the club until I got my teeth into it. They crave success the same way that the Hibs fans did, and thankfully we’ve managed to put a smile back on their faces.

“They’re getting sell-outs now every week, and that’s the aim down there, to try and get bums back on seats and to try and get the club into the top-flight and competing in the top half of the table. Hopefully we can do it.”

One of McGinn’s main reservations about moving across the border wasn’t that he lacked the ability or physicality to cope in the rough and tumble of the English Championship, but that his nationality would see him swimming against the tide before he had even pulled on the claret jersey.

He needn’t have worried. The Villa fans have taken to him instantly, appreciating his combination of desire and commitment allied to his passing ability and dead-eye precision from set-plays.

Even still, he admits that there is a fire in his belly to prove the snipers down south wrong about the standard of the league that he came from.

“I think you’re always fighting a losing battle when you’re Scottish and I don’t think that’s right,” he said. “Even on Monday night [in Scotland’s game against Albania], people were looking at Stephen O’Donnell and saying he plays for Kilmarnock, but you saw how assured he was in his performance and he was brilliant going forward.

“I think the way that people look at Scottish football is wrong, but at the same time, we have to start proving it on the park and start showing it again.

“When a Scottish player goes down the road you’re always going to get doubters. You always get people saying you’re from a pub league, which I think is wrong.

“So, it was important that I went down there and proved that I could cut it at that level, and thankfully so far I’ve managed to do that. It’s early days, it’s a long season, but hopefully I can carry that on.

“[The manager] had Snoddy [Robert Snodgrass], Greegsy [Allan McGregor] and Andy Robertson before so he knows he can find somebody up the road and hopefully so far I’ve managed to repay his faith in Scottish players.”

McGinn’s experiences in a Scotland jersey have generally been positive, so it was something of a test of character for him when a mix-up between himself and goalkeeper Craig Gordon saw him robbed of possession by Mousa Dembele to lay on Belgium’s opening goal 10 days ago.

Despite an altogether more impressive performance against Albania on Monday evening, another couple of uncharacteristic lapses thankfully went unpunished, and McGinn admits the experience has reminded him of the improvements he still has to make when competing at the top level.

“It was tough,” he said, referencing his mistake against Belgium. “It was definitely the lowest point of my Scotland career.

“In the games I’ve experienced everything has went OK apart from the other night, but you learn from it.

“A couple of times on Monday night I didn’t, but I can only try for the next time. I just remember somebody from the side shouting ‘back to the goalie’ [for his short passback to Allan McGregor], but the grass was a wee bit longer on Monday night, so I’ll use that excuse.

“Greegsy was in a great starting position and helped me out massively. I feel as if I contributed a lot more, and the team as whole did as well.”