Aiden McGeady has revealed the depths of his “strained” relationship with former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan while the two of them were at Parkhead.
Speaking to fellow ex-Celtic youth player Simon Ferry on the Si Ferry Meets... show, presented by Open Goal, McGeady put it down to a “clash of personalities” which meant he was always wary of facing the manager’s wrath.
McGeady, who would play throughout Strachan’s tenure before leaving the club in 2010 for Spartak Moscow, first broke into the side under Martin O’Neill and featured 37 times in the 2004-05 season.
However, the following campaign his appearances dropped to 24, thanks to a late-season knee injury and an early reticence from Strachan to pick a player who wasn’t his “type of guy”.
McGeady said: “We played Rangers at Ibrox and he [Strachan] stuck Paul Lawson on the bench ahead of me. I was raging. Tommy [Burns] pulled me aside and told me to show a little respect and to back my team-mates, which was fair enough.
“I went to go and see the manager on the Monday after and he just said, ‘nah, you’re not for me, you’re not my type of guy, you think you’re ahead of yourself’. So I asked to go out on loan and he said no. So I went back to playing reserves every week.
“I won him over just through working hard and keeping my head down. Eventually he came to see a reserve game and he pulled me aside and said, ‘well done, you’ve turned it around for yourself’. After that I was playing.
“Me and Strachan, it probably just a clash of personalities. I thought he singled me out a lot of the time. Unfair criticism and things like that.
“I felt I had to be playing well literally every single game to stay in the team, where as other players got a bit of leniency. Our relationship was always a bit strained.”
McGeady later recalled a time where he had a dressing room bust-up with Neil Lennon and Strachan quickly leapt to the defence of the veteran campaigner.
“This was an occasion which sticks in my mind where I didn’t do anything wrong and I got blamed for it.
“We were away at Dunfermline. We won 2-1. In the last five minutes, we were 2-0 up, we’d moved to a 4-3-3 and I was playing right of the front three. Their winger has picked the ball up, beaten Mark Wilson, crossed it in and they’ve scored. And Lenny is going mental.
“Something set him off. He was shouting at everyone. Eventually he shouted at me. He pushed me and I pushed him back.
“I didn’t really think much of it. I hadn’t done anything wrong, I’d just stood up for himself.
“Strachan comes in and he starts having a go at me. He’s like, ‘this guy has done everything for this club, he’s won everything, he’s been here for seven years’. Then he’s like, ‘the biggest skill in football is passing a ball to a team-mate, not all of your tricks and flicks’, talking to me. He then said, ‘Aidan, you may get a few girls in the nightclub with your flicks and your tricks’. I mean, what does that even mean?”
The Sunderland winger also opened up on the eccentricities of Thomas Gravesen in the second part of his interview with Ferry.