McGeady: Hansson no worry
AIDEN McGEADY says he has no fears about facing up to Swedish referee Martin Hansson - the man who helped France get to the World Cup at Ireland's expense - in the Champions League tonight.
Hansson is still a hate figure for many Ireland fans over his failure to spot Thierry Henry's handball.
He takes charge of tonight's Champions League tie between Spartak and Slovak side Zilina in Moscow (Live Sky Sports 4, 5.30pm), which means McGeady will become the first Irish player to face the Swedish whistler since that night in Paris.
Both McGeady and Spartak manager Valeri Karpin were asked about the infamous handball before the game, but both say they have to try and ignore Hansson's past and get on with the game.
"I know that Hansson was the referee for our game in Paris but if you get caught up in things like that, nothing good will come of it so you move on," said McGeady, who is on a high after scoring his first goal for Spartak in a league game last weekend. His manager was even able to joke about Hansson's past and his influence on the Irish.
"I'm not worried about the referee. What are we supposed to do, go and play volleyball tonight?" quipped Karpin. "Just because this referee has been appointed to the game doesn't mean we will train with our hands."
And McGeady says he's ready for the battle against the champions of Slovakia, just days before Ireland travel to Zilina for a Euro 2012 qualifier.
"I feel in good form at the moment. Our last match wasn't the best of games but we got a point which is better than nothing, and now we move on to the Champions League," says the Ireland international.
"We are playing a lot of games now but it's part of life. At Celtic we played 55 matches a season, so it's not a problem for me to play twice a week, the more matches the better. And things are going well for me at Spartak.
"A lot of the players here speak English and they are making it easy for me to settle. I have found a nice place to live, as it's much better than being in a hotel," added McGeady, who is wary of the challenge which he will face against Slovak sides for club and country in the coming days.
"I have seen Zilina play and they are a good side," he says. "I saw them against Sparta Prague in the last round and they did very well."