| 3.2°C Dublin

McGeady: I had to go

IRELAND international Aiden McGeady says he had to leave Celtic and move to Spartak Moscow because he feared for his safety as well as his career.

The 24-year-old is due in Moscow today to finally link up with his new team-mates at Spartak, as a complication over a Russian visa delayed his £10 million move to the Russian capital.

Spartak coach Valeri Karpin today said that he's excited about the prospect of working with McGeady and he confirmed that he sees the Irish international's best position on the right wing.

But as McGeady prepared to meet his new team-mates today, he didn't hold back when he spoke about his reasons for leaving Scotland, claiming that it was almost impossible for him to carry on living with the sectarian background of Glasgow.

"I was getting fed up with Glasgow. I wanted to leave. Nothing against Celtic - it's Glasgow," he said.

"If you are not a footballer, it is a great city to live in. There are loads of things to do and the people are very friendly but as a footballer it can be a nightmare.

"When you are out everybody either wants to shake your hand and praise you or they want to have a go at you. If you have a bad result, then even going to the shops is difficult.

"You are hiding your face as you go past a group of people because they will shout at you. Moscow is bigger and maybe I can disappear into it a wee bit," added McGeady, who knows that his decision to turn his back on his native Scotland and play for Ireland in 2004 made his life more difficult.

"When I made my debut for Celtic there was a huge fuss made about it. Now I am fed up talking about it," he says.

"There are a lot of horrible places in Scotland for that type of thing: Tynecastle, Ibrox obviously is always going to be bad with the Celtic-Rangers rivalry, Motherwell, Falkirk. Some fans there hate everything Celtic stand for and everything I stand for as an Irish Catholic playing for Celtic. But you enjoy going to those places because it makes it even better when you win.

"It begins in the warm-ups before games with all sorts of stuff being shouted at you, even from little kids," he said. "Fair enough, you can have a shout at somebody. Every footballer expects that, but some of the stuff you would not get away with it in any other walk of life.

"But because you are a footballer you are expected to tolerate it. But if it happened in public, on a street, then nobody would be surprised if it developed into a fight.

"It is unbelievable what some people shout," added McGeady as he prepared for his new life in a city of 12 million. "They would shout, 'I hate you' or 'I'm gonna kill you, wee man'."

3to page 76