McNair is on the books of Manchester United at the moment and has been deployed largely as a defender so far.
The Northern Ireland international has yet to establish himself in the United first team, but he has featured in 11 matches for his country.
According to The Scotsman, Celtic are interested in signing the 21-year-old in the summer transfer window.
MacPhee, who is 36 years of age, has suggested that for Celtic to get the best out of McNair, manager Brendan Rodgers should play him in a midfield role rather than restrict him to defence.
“A number of people have Paddy down as being a central defender or a full-back,” MacPhee told The Scotsman. “That’s probably because Louis van Gaal played him there for Manchester United.
“But Paddy’s best position is in central midfield. Van Gaal also knew this but maybe it was the Dutch way of trying to turn him into a ball-playing central defender.
“However, Paddy has all the attributes to be a top-class central midfielder. He is a tremendous athlete, has unbelievable running power and has incredible energy levels.”
McNair featured in eight Premier League appearances for United last season, creating one chance in the process.
The youngster had a pass accuracy of 79% and a shot accuracy of 33%, and won eight headers and eight tackles.
While Celtic would be signing McNair to play in defence, his versatility would only be an asset for the Bhoys.