MARTIN O'NEILL has dismissed Aiden McGeady's falling-out with the Spartak Moscow hierarchy as a common episode for the fiery Glaswegian and expects him to earn a Premier League move in January.
O'Neill is relaxed about the player's situation, conscious that his Russian contract expires in the summer so his latest disagreement could facilitate a January sale with Everton and Newcastle interested. He is confident that the winger can step up to that level.
"He's fallen out with the coach? What a surprise," quipped O'Neill, who has a strong relationship with his former protege. "What is it about -- how nobody brought his boots or something? This young fellow fell out with the reserve team coach with Celtic at 16 because he felt should not be going to Aberdeen if he wasn't going to start in the game.
"I know Aiden, he's a great lad with great ability. He's a cantankerous git. He'll be fine.
"If he's in the reserves for six months, he'll blow a gasket out there, he'll go mad. McGeady... honestly, he'll not stick that long. Would I expect him to move? I'd have thought so. I've tried to get that boy umpteen times. If there is six months left, I can't imagine them (Moscow) getting phenomenal amounts. He's good enough for the Premier League, absolutely."
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"The lad (Aiden McGeady) has got great ability. He can play the wrong ball at times, be wasteful and be exasperating. But he can go past people and not many are doing that."
O'Neill was speaking at his end-of-year press conference in Dublin as he outlined his provisional plans for the upcoming months. The Euro qualifying draw in February will set the agenda, and he will have further talks with John Delaney about summer fixtures with a trip away planned in addition to finalising his back-room staff.
The Derryman will continue to watch matches over the Christmas period with his assistant Roy Keane also taking in a number of fixtures.
Tomorrow, O'Neill will travel to London to see Richard Dunne in action for QPR in their lunchtime encounter with Leicester. Dunne said recently that he would have to speak with the Irish manager to see if he was still in their plans.
"I signed him (for Aston Villa) and he did brilliantly for me," said O'Neill. "He's a year or two older and I think he thought his career was finished at one stage or other. It was great to see him back playing and he hasn't missed too many games."