FORMER Celtic forward Simon Donnelly believes that Hibs midfielder John McGinn is the ideal long-term successor to Celtic captain Scott Brown, and that Brendan Rodgers should bring him to the club as soon as possible.

Donnelly has been impressed by the Hibs midfielder throughout the season, particularly in his standout displays at Celtic Park and Ibrox as Neil Lennon’s men have plundered league points from Glasgow, and again in Scotland’s win over Hungary on Tuesday night.

He was surprised that Celtic weren’t credited with an interest in the 23-year-old during the last transfer window, believing that as well as eventually taking over Brown’s mantle as the leader of their midfield, he can make a significant contribution to the side playing alongside the Celtic skipper until he eventually hangs up his boots.

Read more: Scotland should build team around Celtic talent like Callum McGregor, says Simon Donnelly

“I’m surprised that Celtic didn’t have a sniff at him in the January transfer window, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up there,” Donnelly said.

“[Callum] McGregor and John McGinn for me have been the two best players this season in midfield.

“Scott Brown still has a lot to offer there, and with him retiring from Scotland, I can see him playing on there. But who better to go in and learn from playing alongside than him?

“He’s that kind of player, he has that aggression, he’s tenacious and he can play a bit.

“I‘m surprised Celtic haven’t went for him yet.”

Many players from outside of the Old Firm have of course gone to either Celtic or Rangers and struggled to handle the transition, but there is no doubt in Donnelly’s mind that McGinn has all of the tools to make a big impact at the club right away.

One of the most impressive things about McGinn for Donnelly is his mental strength, showing consistently that he has the ability not only to handle the big occasion, but to rise to it.

And he reckons that the way he has gone to the biggest venues in the country and taken games by the scruff of the neck shows that he has what it takes to make it as a Celtic player.

Read more: Scotland should build team around Celtic talent like Callum McGregor, says Simon Donnelly

“He has the mentality to handle it,” he said.

“He scored two in the draw at Celtic Park, he was one of the better players when they came the last time, and he scored when they won at Ibrox.

“If you can go in there and handle yourself in those environments, you can handle yourself anywhere.”

"Simon Donnelly was speaking at the handover of £15,000 to charity from St Cadoc's Youth Club. The East Renfrewshire club, which has 800 young footballers and netballers, have raised £65,000 for various charities at Gala Charity Dinners over the last five years.

This year's beneficiaries include St Andrews Hospice, Scottish Action for Refugees, Anchor House - Special Needs and Trussell Trust Food Bank.