Aiden McGeady on taunts of 'small-minded individuals' over Ireland decision and possible Celtic return

Former Celtic star Aiden McGeady has opened up about the abuse he suffered on a weekly basis when he played in Scotland.

It all centred around the 36-year-old's decision to represent Republic of Ireland at international level.

McGeady, despite being born in Scotland, qualified through his grandparents. Between his debut in 2004 and 2017 he played 93 times.

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His decision was taken very early on in his career and would see him play for Ireland's under-17s, under-19s and under-21s. It came due to Scotland’s rules blocking youngsters from playing with their school.

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It didn't stop him from receiving taunts and abuse, being labelled a ‘Judas’ and “getting booed in every away ground in Scotland every time I touched the ball."

"I made the decision when I was 14," he told the BBC. "It's not like I did it at 18.

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"Scotland had those rules that you couldn't play for your school team, but Ireland didn't. 'Packie' Bonner knew my dad and my grandparents and asked if I wanted to play for Ireland.

"I just went with Ireland and that was it. I knew all of the boys and I liked the set up.

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Aiden McGeady made the decision to play for Ireland when he was 14. Picture: SNS

"It was when I got in the first team, it was like 'oh my god how is this guy not playing for Scotland?' But that was why. It's not as if I'd just made the decision.

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"I'd get it everywhere I went off the park too; 'traitor, turncoat, Judas'.

"It's just small-minded individuals, that's all it is. Other players did the same, like Scott Arfield [Canada] or Brian McLean [Northern Ireland] and they didn't get the abuse I got. Was it because I played for Celtic, because I played for Ireland?

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"In a way, it's a compliment because, if they didn't think you were a good player, they wouldn't bother."

McGeady revealed he had an opportunity to return to Celtic when Ronny Deila was manager, seven years after leaving for Spartak Moscow but the “circumstances weren't right” and felt he would be turning his back on England.

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He said: "Obviously I would have loved to have gone back at another time, when it was right for everybody, but that opportunity never came up again.

"I regret that it meant I didn't get to play for Celtic again, but at the time, no."

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