herald

Friday 18 January 2019

McGeady delighted to grind out away point in ‘home’ city

AS IRELAND’S players boarded their team bus last night and steeled themselves for the long trek ahead – bus ride to Domodedovo airport on the southern outskirts of Moscow and then a four-hour plane journey, one Irishman was making the short trip to his own home.

AS IRELAND’S players boarded their team bus last night and steeled themselves for the long trek ahead – bus ride to Domodedovo airport on the southern outskirts of Moscow and then a four-hour plane journey, one Irishman was making the short trip to his own home.

It was a good night’s work for Aiden McGeady and his team, on a big night for the Scottish-born, Russian-based Irishman.

It was a strange facet of last night’s game that the Euro 2012 qualifier was being played in the home ground of Spartak Moscow but McGeady was the only player from the club involved in any way.

“There wasn’t much talk about the Ireland game at the club in the last while, Spartak fans don’t like Russia all that much as Russia don’t pick any Spartak players,” McGeady joked, though there was no joking about the achievement of McGeady and his Ireland team-mates.

The former Celtic man was only just back in action after a long lay-off – Friday against Slovakia was his first start in four months – and it showed as he put in a sub-par display against the Slovaks, but he was back to his sprightly best last night.

“It was a great result for us, Russia had lots of chances to score, being honest they could have had four or five goals, but we held firm and defended well. Russia are a very strong side, they played well last night but just didn’t get the result and it’s a good point for us,” McGeady told the Herald.

“Some people were making a big deal of the game on a |personal level for me as it was in Spartak’s home ground and I was the only Spartak player involved, but I wasn’t thinking about that, I just wanted to get a result for |Ireland.

“The group is still wide open. It’s hard to know how it will pan out after last night’s results.

“If Russia run away with it and we win our last two games we’d finish on 21 points and it might be enough for us to qualify as the best-placed team of the ones who finish |second,” added McGeady, who has played just one league game, as sub, for Spartak since he picked up that ankle injury in April.

“I really wanted to get back for these Ireland games, not just because this game was in Moscow but because they were such big matches for Ireland. I didn’t want to miss the Slovakia game last week, I know the way our manager thinks.

“If I’d missed that game with the injury and Stephen Hunt came in and played really well, I’d have stayed out of the team and I just don’t want to lose my place in this Ireland team,” he stated.

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