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Aiden McGeady grateful to Martin O'Neill for Celtic debut

Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 14:04 | Comments

Aiden McGeady: 'I was hoping to be coming on in games, but I was playing Champions League games'
Aiden McGeady: 'I was hoping to be coming on in games, but I was playing Champions League games'

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Aiden McGeady is relishing the prospect of playing under Martin O’Neill again as the former Celtic pair prepare for Ireland duty.

The Boys in Green are lined up to play four friendlies – against Turkey, Italy, Costa Rica and Portugal in preparation for the start of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in September – and the Everton man says he is grateful to O’Neill for giving him a start at Parkhead.

He said: "I have got a lot to thank him for. He gave me my debut at Celtic. I played a few games towards the end of that season, then the next season, I was only 18 and probably played 35 games that season.

"I was hoping to be coming on in games, but I was playing Champions League games."

Meanwhile, McGeady is targeting an assault on the Premier League's top four next season after a near miss.

Everton passed up the chance to gatecrash the Champions League party at the end of a nevertheless hugely successful campaign, ultimately finishing in fifth place to claim a Europa League spot.

"I have got a lot to thank him for. He gave me my debut at Celtic" - Aidan McGeady

However, McGeady, who joined the club from Spartak in January, is confident they can split the big boys next time around after launching new manager Roberto Martinez's tenure in style.

He said: "It was in our own hands and we slipped up.

"We beat Arsenal at home and then we lost to Palace, we lost to Southampton, games that we should have won or we should be winning if we want to be in the top four.

"But ultimately those two defeats cost us and Arsenal went on and won every single one of their games, so in the end they deserved to be there.

"But we were challenging the top four, so the challenge next season is to go one better and get into that top four.

"With the squad we have got there, the manager and the backroom staff, the potential that the players have got, especially seeing as how many of the players are 22, 23, 24, young players, that's got to be our aim."

Everton's achievement was somewhat over-shadowed by neighbours Liverpool's title challenge, which came up only just short on the final day as they were pipped by Manchester City.

However, McGeady believes Everton's achievement was no less noteworthy.

He said: "We probably out-performed what everybody expected of us from the start of the season.

"At the start of the season, the first three games were draws and everyone was thinking, 'This is a different type of football, a different way of playing for Everton'.

"But gradually over time, the manager and the way we play, we have won everyone over. We play football the right way and I think everyone is enjoying it."

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