JOHN McGinn looked the part the very first time I saw him play with St Mirren.

He was only 17 back then, but right away I could see the potential within him because even at that age he was some player.

I liked him straight away.

McGinn’s attitude was excellent for start. He always wanted on the ball, was direct when in possession, knew when and how to put in a tackle and he scored goals. 

Read more: Celtic winger James Forrest ready for rocky road to Champions League​

The whole package was impressive for a teenager.

His family name is, of course, strongly linked to Celtic. I know his grandfather Jack well, he was my chairman when I was manager, but just because there is a family connection does not mean that the lad would ever be good enough to play for Celtic.

However, take it from me, John McGinn isn’t just good enough to be a Celtic player, he is good enough to walk into Brendan Rodgers’ team tomorrow.

Celtic may have had a bid rejected; however, I am sure a deal will be done and the club will end up with a terrific footballer. I’ll be happy to 
see this.

McGinn is not a squad player. Rodgers hasn’t moved for him because he feels the Hibs man would be a good addition to the squad. He wants him to get into the first team. And I can see that happening.

McGinn can play that bit deeper in the Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham role, and also that bit further forward behind the strikers. He’s an adaptable and intelligent lad who would be comfortable being moved around.

I don’t see him, as some have suggested, as a replacement for Brown.

The idea has been floated that the captain’s age means he would be rested a bit more here and there, and McGinn would be an ideal stand-in now and then take over from him soon enough.

Read more: Celtic winger James Forrest ready for rocky road to Champions League​

Brown still has plenty left in him. He is not going anywhere and I can see the two playing together.

The best performance I watched from a domestic opponent last season at Celtic Park was McGinn when Hibs were excellent and got a 2-2 draw, with both goals coming from the same player, a lad who clearly caught the eye of Rodgers that day.

McGinn was outstanding, as he was at Ibrox when he scored a terrific goal. Incidentally, the two he scored at Parkhead were outstanding as well. That tells me he likes the big occasion and that he’s ready to make a step-up.

The deal won’t be done before Celtic travel to Armenia for their first Champions League qualifier on Tuesday, which is a shame because this is going to be a tough match.

Sure, Alashkert are hardly a big name and I fully expect Celtic to get through. But this first leg will be far from straightforward.

It’s going to be roasting, which plays into the hands of the Armenians.

The trick for Celtic is ball retention. They need to keep possession, make them do the chasing, and conserve energy when they can. The hottest game I ever played in was with Scotland when we faced Zaire in the 1974 World Cup. The heat was almost unbearable, the humidity a real killer, and that actually affected the scoreline.

We won 2-0 but it should have been more. The travel is hardly ideal either, but if you think this is me making excuses for the players, please believe me, I am not.

Read more: Celtic winger James Forrest ready for rocky road to Champions League​

All I’m saying is these so-called ‘easy’ games are rarely that. Lincoln Red Imps anyone?

Alashkert will know that their only chance of a shock is to put a couple of goals past Celtic during their home match.

Rodgers will make sure his players know this and the message, I am sure, will be for nothing too silly to happen.

As long as Celtic come away without anything ridiculous having gone on, they will be happy enough.

Let’s hope this is the first game of a long and successful Champions League campaign.