Celtic legend Gemmell convinced O’Neill wanted McGeady at Aston Villa
McGeady is set to join Spartak Moscow in the next 24 hours.
"Peter Lawwell (Celtic chief executive) has done a great job getting almost £10million from Spartak," Gemmell said. "I get the impression Aiden was holding off to see if he could get a club in England.
"But with the size of the transfer fee, I don't think there would be a team in England who would be interested in paying that for Aiden McGeady.
"The way I look at it is he (O'Neill) wanted to sign Aiden McGeady and I don't think Villa wanted to go above the £5million limit. Aiden has got to go to Moscow and prove himself.
"If you don't do the business, there is nobody interested in you. He is still improving. He has a lot of things to prove to the football world and a lot of improvement to make in his own game.
"He has to gel with the players around him, which sometimes didn't happen at Celtic."