IT was celebrations on the double for Aiden McGeady in Andorra this weekend.
Ireland's Scottish-born and Russian-based winger helped Ireland edge closer to a place in next summer's European Championship finals, as the 2-0 win in Andorra means that a draw in Ireland's final group game, at home to an in-form Armenia side next Tuesday night, will guaranteed the Republic a place in the play-offs.
Russia are practically guaranteed to win the group, as they will only miss out if they lose to minnows Andorra in Moscow on Tuesday, the most unlikely scenario possible in European football.
McGeady (25) played a part as he claimed Ireland's second goal of the night, though TV replays show that his 20th-minute shot deflected past the Andorran keeper off their captain Idelfons Lima.
But McGeady is on a high, not only because of his role in Ireland's win, but because he became a dad for the first time last week. McGeady's Scottish girlfriend, Claire, gave birth to a daughter, Kaia, in a Moscow hospital and while McGeady says he's thrilled by fatherhood, football duties with his club and country mean he's had little time to spend with the new arrival.
"It's brilliant being a dad, my wee girl is just over a week old now," McGeady told the Herald.
"It's difficult as I've been away so much. She was born on the Wednesday morning. I had a game with Spartak Moscow the next Sunday, so I was missing from them for that, and then last Monday I came away with the Irish team, heading away for the best part of nine days and that's difficult, but it's part of football.
"It's hard because I haven't really seen much of her, apart from in the hospital so I can't wait to get back."
McGeady paid tribute to the Irish fans who managed to get into the 850-capacity Estadi Comunal in Andorra last night. Fears of a severe ticket famine for Ireland fans eased just ahead of the game as the Andorran FA put 150 tickets on sale to Irish fans yesterday afternoon. That decision was partly due to a lack of interest from locals but also a row over TV coverage.
Some gained unique vantage points -- a batch of Irish fans had booked into a campsite and caravan park which overlooks the tiny stadium while others had done deals with local residents, whose apartments also overlook the ground.
"It was great to see the Irish fans there last night, a lot of them came to see us training the night before and that gave us a boost," said McGeady.
Ireland now face a vibrant Armenia side in Dublin on Tuesday, the Armenians aiming for a Dublin win which would send them through to the play-offs at our expense.
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