AIDEN McGeady sits in a Dublin hotel, looking tense as he faces the media. The forthcoming game with Scotland weighs heavily on his mind as he considers the possibility of revenge.
McGeady joined up with Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland squad in Dublin yesterday, the start of a two-week spell which may well decide whether the Irish or Scotland travel to France for next summer’s European Championship finals.
Scotland’s 1-0 victory at Celtic Park last November hurt McGeady more than most. The abuse he received from the stands was an unpleasant experience for the Scotland-born 29 year old who opted to play for the Irish.
“No, I’ve never taken stick before like that,” said the former Celtic winger, who admits the Irish were second best to a Scotland side buoyed on by a passionate home support.
“It was a game I wasn’t really looking forward to because I knew it would be like that. It would have been great if we had won, if I’d scored, if I’d played well and really just won.
“But we didn’t and it made it a whole lot worse because I know all the Scottish players and I know a lot of Scotland fans, who bring it up to me when I’m home. I had a lot of friends and family at the game. I don’t think [it was bad for them]. Probably it was worse for me because James McCarthy [Ireland’s other Scots-born player] was injured as well, wasn’t it? It was just basically me taking the brunt of the abuse.”
McGeady was quick to rule out the abuse from the stands as having a detrimental effect on his game in Glasgow as O’Neill’s side rarely appeared to threaten David Marshall’s goal.
“I just thought I couldn’t really get into the game, especially in the first half, and then probably when I was getting into it, I was maybe trying to do too much with the ball.
“Maybe it affected me, I don’t think it did, really. I just think it was one of those nights when things didn’t quite go to plan, that was all.”
The Everton winger explained there was some stick over the result when he went back to Merseyside, although clubmate Steven Naismith reserved it for Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy in the Goodison Park dressing room. It was returning home which stung though.
“It was okay, but it’s still stuff you don’t like hearing, even if it is banter, so obviously we have got this game coming up and you really want to win. That’s it,” grinned McGeady.
The Irish prepare for Saturday week’s crunch games with a training match against Northern Ireland tomorrow followed by England’s first visit to Dublin since 1995, this Sunday.
“The Scotland one’s the big one obviously. We want to get our own back on them from the last game,” said McGeady. “The England one is obviously a big game as well but it’s a friendly and the Scotland one is the most important from my point of view and I think everyone else’s as well.”
Ireland are two points behind Gordon Strachan’s side with McGeady and O’Neill both insisting that the encounter in Dublin in a must-win game.
“I think we probably just have to play the best way that we can,” explained McGeady. “The way we play in training, you think, ‘If we just bring that into a game, we’ll just have to do that’.”