Aiden McGeady says spat firmly in past

AIDEN McGeady saw at close quarters just how much it pains Neil Lennon to concede so much as a goal after the pair came to blows towards the end of a match with Dunfermline Athletic four years ago.

The winger might then be forgiven for handing his former skipper a cool reception following Lennon's promotion to interim manager. But McGeady yesterday gave no indication to suggest he was underwhelmed by the news, although he was quick to point out that Tony Mowbray's short spell as manager had been an enjoyable one for him personally.

"He (Mowbray] gave me a licence to come inside and be more of a creative force instead of being stuck on the wing, so that is something I am grateful for," he said. The comment might have been designed to say more about Gordon Strachan's use of McGeady, with whom there was another flare-up following a match with Hearts last season.

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McGeady yesterday contemplated his role in such high-profile spats. "Maybe it is me that is the common denominator," he smiled.

But things so far have progressed smoothly under Lennon, whose relationship with McGeady has long since been repaired. "The thing with me and Lenny is in the past," he said. "It's not a big deal. He's very encouraging as a person and as a coach. Anything you do well, he is the first to tell you. We clashed in the past over a goal that was given away in the last minute of a game we were winning 2-0.

"That shows the passion he has for the cause and me, too. I hate losing goals. It's the worst thing in the game – and Lenny feels that too. He was directing it at me saying it was my fault. I gave my opinion back."

But such evidence of a player caring is what Lennon wishes to see now he has been promoted to manager, for the short-term at least.

McGeady has already spoken of the pain felt following last week's 4-0 thrashing by St Mirren, in Mowbray's last game in charge.

It is not something he has felt before as a Celtic player, and he does not want to see it repeated. Lennon has already displayed how he can react to the loss of just one goal at the end of a game in which Celtic triumphed. It can only be imagined how he would have greeted the players in the away dressing-room at New St Mirren Park had he been in charge following such a multi-goal defeat.

"The only word for it was embarrassing," said McGeady. "We, maybe, turned up hoping the game would take care of itself and it didn't."

But such is the life at a football club, the players have already moved on. "Training has been more light-hearted," revealed the winger.

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"I'm not saying it was bad before, but it was more game-related. Lenny knows the boys were on a downer with the manager getting sacked and training has been enjoyable. It's been a breath of fresh air.

"He (Lennon] is similar to the old manager in what he wants us to do, but maybe not an out-and-out passing team like the old manager.

"First and foremost, he wants to win and take it from there.

"The stuff at Friday's training was about how it doesn't always have to be pass, pass, pass. He wants it forward quickly to strikers and wide players and to be positive."

Still only 23, McGeady will clearly feature in Lennon's vision for the future should be asked to carry on next season. The winger was a subject of interest from Birmingham City in January, and has ambitions to test himself elsewhere at some point.

"I'd like to play in better leagues in the future," he said. "Everyone has those aspirations.

"I'm still contracted with Celtic. I've said it before. If a team comes in with a bid and the club wants to accept it, that's up to them. If not, I'm still a Celtic player."