Sport Soccer

Saturday 18 August 2018

'He didn't have a choice to come here' - Sunderland boss defends Aiden McGeady's controversial celebration

Aiden McGeady was booed during today's game but he had the last laugh
Aiden McGeady was booed during today's game but he had the last laugh
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Sunderland manager Simon Grayson felt Aiden McGeady was justified in celebrating his equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Preston in front of the home fans.

The winger, who joined the Black Cats in July, spent last season on loan at Preston from Everton and received a hostile reception from the Lilywhites faithful.

After netting just before the hour mark to earn his side a point, McGeady made a point of responding to the taunts, running to the opposite end to celebrate in front of the Preston supporters.

Grayson, who was Preston manager before moving to Sunderland this summer himself, defended his player's celebrations, likening them to Emmanuel Adebayor's goading of Arsenal fans after scoring against his old club for Manchester City in 2009.

"You are allowed to run around any part of the field and celebrate how you want," said Grayson.

"He took the pressure off me to be fair, so I'm quite happy with that. I said to him he looked like Adebayor at City.

"Why shouldn't you celebrate? He was unfairly taunted, I thought, because he was exceptional last year.

"He didn't have a choice to come here, so I thought it was a bit unfair what went off."

Preston boss Alex Neil also played down McGeady's actions.

He said: "I was too disappointed with conceding to notice Aiden's celebration.

"I saw him run somewhere. I think in football emotions run high.

"We were delighted when we scored. I'll be honest, I don't make too much of it."

Sunderland took the lead after 28 minutes through George Honeyman, but in the 55th minute Josh Harrop's whipped free-kick deflected into the bottom left-hand corner and Jordan Hugill's thumping volley made it 2-1.

McGeady then swept home from 20 yards to silence the home fans.

Grayson was pleased with his team's resilience, saying: "We withstood pressure. We were worthy winners going into half-time, we matched their energy and desire.

"You saw the strength in depth of the team a little bit more today. That can only be a positive for us going into the next few months.

"All the players have responded and that's one of the reasons we put John O'Shea back in because of the experience he brings to the team."

Neil said: "We scored two fantastic goals. The disappointing thing for us is that, having taken the lead, if we see it out for five or 10 minutes, we probably go on and win the game.

"You could probably argue that, on merit, we probably deserve more points, but 20 points from 11 games is a good start for us.

"I'd say we're content. I wouldn't say I'm happy with it."

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