Aiden McGeady has opened up.
Former Ireland international Aiden McGeady has opened up on the torrent of abuse he was subjected to having decided to play for Ireland instead of Scotland during his international career.
McGeady, now 36, made his debut for the Boys in Green in 2004, before then going on to make 93 appearances for Ireland up until his most recent in 2017.
His declaration for Ireland proved contentious, however, with Scotland supporters unimpressed that they lost out on one of their most prised young talents at a young age.
“There are plenty of Scottish players that have played for other teams..”
Although, in a recent interview with BBC Scotland’s Sportssound, McGeady has hit back at the abuse he received during his international career.
“There are plenty of Scottish players that have played for other teams,” he explained when discussing the abuse he was targeted with.
“Does Scott Arfield not play for Canada? Brian McLean, he chose Northern Ireland. Did they get the same abuse as me? No. Why did I get that abuse?
🗣️ ‘The other players that I mentioned, why did they not get the same abuse that I got?’ 🤔
📻 @kennymacsport catches up with Aiden McGeady. Listen to the full interview in the Scottish Football Podcast ⤵️
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) May 22, 2022
“I made the decision when I was 14. It’s not like I made the decision when I was 18. Scotland had those rules where if you didn’t play for your school team, you didn’t play for the schoolboys, which was fine.
“Ireland didn’t have that. Packie Bonner knew my dad and my grandparents. He asked if I wanted to play for Ireland from like U14, U15. Then I just played for Ireland. That was it.
“I knew the boys. I liked the set-up. When I got in the [Celtic] first team it was like, ‘How is this guy not playing for Scotland?’ It’s not like I’d just chosen Ireland.”
“In a way, it’s a compliment because if they didn’t think you were a good player, they wouldn’t be bothering..”
Throughout his time in Scotland, McGeady was a key man for Celtic and played under several managers at Celtic Park.
But most, if not all of his time at Celtic saw him subjected to abuse at each away ground in Scotland.
“It’s small-minded individuals, isn’t it? That’s all it is,” he added. “The other players I mentioned, why did they not get the same abuse that I got? Any idea? Because I played for Celtic? Because I played for Ireland?
“Hearts, Hibs, Motherwell, Falkirk – everywhere, booed everywhere I went. They wanted me to fail. Didn’t happen to anybody else, did it? James McCarthy got the same.
“Plenty of other players have switched allegiances to countries, but they’ve not all got that. In a way, it’s a compliment because if they didn’t think you were a good player, they wouldn’t be bothering.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) April 4, 2020
“I used to get it everywhere I went really. Traitor, turncoat, Judas, not from everybody, but from proper Scotland fans, which there aren’t that many of in Glasgow. It’s mainly Ireland or England, isn’t it?”
McGeady, 36, was recently promoted to the Championship with Sunderland but played a minimal role under new boss Alex Neil thanks to injury.
Also, his contract at the Stadium of Light is set to conclude at the end of June, and it is unclear what his next course of action will be.