McGeady wants revenge over Scotland
Published 03/06/2015 | 07:06
Aiden McGeady will be gunning for revenge when the Republic of Ireland head into their Euro 2016 qualifying battle with Scotland on June 13.
The 29-year-old Paisley-born winger was taunted mercilessly by the locals, some of whom have never forgiven him for opting to wear the green of Ireland, at Celtic Park in November as the Scots ran out 1-0 winners in the Group D showdown between the two nations.
The former Bhoys winger has not forgotten a difficult night on both a personal and team basis, and that will fuel him as he prepares for Sunday's friendly against England and then the reunion with Gordon Strachan's men at the Aviva Stadium.
McGeady said: "The Scotland one's the big one, obviously. We want to get our own back on them from the last game.
"We never played well enough to win the game. It would have been nice to have come away with a point, but a bit of ball-watching and switching off at a set-piece cost us a point. It could have been an important point.
"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."
If the Republic's need for points - they currently sit in fourth place in the group on eight points, three adrift of leaders Poland and two shy of Germany and Scotland - is motivation enough, the cat-calls which greeted McGeady on the pitch where he made his name provide added spice.
Asked if he had ever before received that level of abuse, he replied: "No, never before like that. It was a game I wasn't really looking forward to because I knew it would be like that. But it would have been great if he had won, if I'd scored, if I'd played well and really just won, to be honest with you.
"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.
"But mainly from the team's point of view, it would have been a big point for us if we had drawn."
McGeady added with a smile: "Probably it was worse for me because James McCarthy was injured as well, wasn't it? It was just basically me taking the brunt of the abuse."
Even Everton team-mate Steven Naismith, who started for the Scots on the night, got in on the act, although the Ireland midfielder admitted his comments were made with tongue firmly in cheek.
He said: "He tried to give me a little bit, but I knew he was joking. That's what he's like. Hopefully we can win and give him a bit of stick when we go back in pre-season, that'll be good."
Martin O'Neill's men would have been further adrift of the fight for a top-two finish had Shane Long not snatched a 1-1 draw against the Poles with a stoppage-time equaliser in March, and while that has helped to re-galvanise them, they know there is little margin for error.
McGeady said: "I suppose we have to win. If we don't, we slip away. There will still be few games left, but you'd be hoping Scotland and Poland drop points."
The two games over the next week or so will give the former Spartak Moscow man a chance to bring a positive end to a frustrating campaign after injury limited his involvement at Goodison Park during the second half of the season.
He was fit for the final four or five weeks, but unable to force his way into Roberto Martinez's plans on a sustained basis, although he took that in his stride in a way he might not have done earlier in his career.
Asked if he was the kind of player who knocked on the manager's door to ask why he was not in the team, McGeady, who was speaking at the launch of the McDonald's Football Future initiative in Malahide, said: "I did that when I was younger.
"If you are going to speak to the manager, you are trying to convince the manager why you should be playing. He's got his own ideas anyway and you are not going to change his mind by talking to him.
"When I was younger, I probably would have thought that I would say my bit anyway."