The former Rangers boss called on the Scotland international to shoot more and he delivered with a wonderful curled effort in south London.
McGinn had fired wide from a similar position in the first half but atoned in the 86th minute at Selhurst Park with what proved the winning goal after Marc Guehi netted a late consolation for the hosts in stoppage-time.
“The manager told me if I get in those positions to let rip,” Villa’s number seven told BBC’s Match of the Day.
“I’m just going to try and keep learning and if I can get anywhere near the level of Steven Gerrard or Patrick Vieira I’ll be delighted!
“We were outstanding in the first half, I thought, and we defended well in the second half when we were under a lot of pressure. Not many teams have come here this season and got the three points so we’re delighted.”
Left-back Matt Targett had fired Villa into an early lead when he controlled Ashley Young’s corner and rifled into the bottom corner for only his third ever Premier League goal.
The defender did not score at all last season and his last strike had been back in January of 2020, but he admitted the set-piece effort had not exactly gone to plan.
In his broadcast interviews, Targett said: “I was meant to block Tyrone Mings’ man (Cheikhou Kouyate) but I just kept it low and it went in. It’s been a long time coming!
“The analysts and us spoke about set pieces in the build-up to the game. We know they are not great at defending them.”
Villa’s opener at Selhurst Park was the 10th goal Palace have conceded from a free kick or corner this season and boss Patrick Vieira admitted it left him “frustrated” when he reflected on the defeat post-match.
The 2-1 loss ended the Eagles’ seven-game unbeaten run but they will have little time to dwell on the result with a trip to Leeds coming up on Tuesday.
Right-back Joel Ward insisted: “We will analyse it, look at it but it is nothing we can’t do or resolve.
“The majority (of set-piece goals) I think have come from second or third phase and we need to make sure we sharpen up and defend until it is cleared.
“We need to defend until the death but we will work on it and continue to try to improve because that is something we need to improve on collectively.
“I think as a group we weren’t at the races, but we dust ourselves down and go again on Tuesday.”
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