Opinion

Forget Celtic: Scotland international should reject Paradise switch and move south of border

There’s a three-way battle inside the Transfer Tavern for Hibernian and Scotland midfielder John McGinn with Celtic, Leeds and Frank Lampard’s Derby all interested.

The landlord has fallen out with the Scottish corner of the tavern after claiming it’s the land where footballers’ careers start, end and stagnate.

However brutal that may sound, it’s pretty accurate by looking at the last few years of Scottish football.

With Celtic winning their seventh consecutive top division title in May, the league’s reputation for being second rate has worsened even more. Aside from Premier League oldies like Kolo Toure signing for the league’s top togs, they’ve seen the likes of Scott Sinclair, 29, and Dedryck Boyata, 27, fall to mediocrity too.

Sinclair scored 21 goals in the 16/17 season and 10 last campaign, but that’s still not been enough to attract suitors from England’s top tier.

No matter how good his performances have been, the moans of ‘I’d be able to do that in Scotland’ ring out inside the Tavern each week. Whether right or not, in the eyes of the top teams in England, Scottish football has far less worth as an apprenticeship than the Championship.

Playing for either Leeds or Derby would place the 23-year-old McGinn right in the English spotlight, and that’s where he needs to be at this age.

Leeds, in particular, will be fighting for promotion this season, so what a move it could be for the Scot to lead them to the Premier League without having to force another transfer along the line.

Of course, there are examples of young players developing their game at Celtic and then moving to the Premier League, not least the most expensive centre-back in the world Virgin Van Dijk. However, Van Dijk was fortunate Southampton brought him in from the cold after two strong years at in Glasgow, and opportunities like that don’t come often at Celtic.

It’s an ambitious leap to fight for a place in a more competitive division, but if McGinn has the desire to be the best he can be, he should be playing in the Championship come August.

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