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Aiden McGeady expects tough reception from Scottish during Euro qualifiers

Updated: Wednesday, 12 Mar 2014 23:39 | Comments

Aiden McGeady said he had no regrets about declaring for Ireland
Aiden McGeady said he had no regrets about declaring for Ireland

Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady admits it is inevitable that he will suffer abuse from the Tartan Army when he returns to Scotland for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

The Paisley-born Everton attacker sparked controversy as a Celtic teenager when he announced he would commit himself to Ireland rather than the land of his birth.

That decision made him a target for opposition supporters at grounds across Scotland during his six-year Parkhead spell.

Now the 27-year-old says he expects to face more flak when Martin O'Neill's side take on Scotland in November - a match likely to be played at his old Celtic Park stomping ground.

Speaking as he helped launch the PFA Scotland Player of the Year Awards, McGeady said: "It'll be strange playing against Scotland at Celtic Park.

"Although if it's at Celtic Park it might give Ireland the advantage because there will probably be a lot of fans there in the Scotland end who are actually Ireland fans.

"Do I expect to get stick? Yeah, probably, because you still get the odd bit when you're out and about, but that's football for you."

McGeady insisted he was now old enough to deal with the criticism.

"When I was a little bit younger it used to get on my nerves," he said. "But people can say what they want at grounds and they're entitled to because they've paid their money."

"It's a shame but it's too far down the line to change people's opinion now. I've tried to tell people my story, how I ended up playing for Ireland, but that's it."

McGeady was prevented by Celtic from representing his school side as a youth, but the Scottish Football Association would only select youngsters who played with their classmates for the nations' Schoolboy squad.

Ireland had no such rule and used the row to their advantage when they persuaded McGeady to represent their youth set-up.

The SFA did attempt to lure McGeady back once he had established himself as a Hoops regular but the 64-cap winger insists he made the right choice.

"I have no regrets because I've played a lot of games for Ireland, I've got a lot of caps and I'm still only 27," he said. "I've played at the Euros and I can say I played at a major finals.

"To be fair, the SFA did try hard to get me to change my mind, but it was too far down the line.

"I'd already been playing for Ireland for three years up to the 17s and then they tried but my mind was already made up. I knew the players and the set-up, but they did try so I can't really fault them for that."

McGeady is not the only Irish player with Scottish heritage. Former Hamilton midfielder James McCarthy was born and raised in Glasgow but, like his new Everton team-mate, chose to represent the Republic.

"We were just talking about who would get more stick and I said him," joked McGeady. "But we'll deal with it if and when it happens. It might not be as bad as we think." 

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