Aiden McGeady details the abuse he suffered after playing for Ireland instead of Scotland 1 month ago

Aiden McGeady details the abuse he suffered after playing for Ireland instead of Scotland

"There are plenty of Scottish players that have played for other teams."

Aiden McGeady has detailed the level of abuse he suffered in Scotland after choosing to play for the Republic of Ireland at international level.

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McGeady earned 93 caps for Ireland, represented the country for 13 years and played for the Boys in Green at two major tournaments.

The former Celtic winger, however, says he experienced a major backlash in the country of his birth after switching international allegiance.

Aiden McGeady Ireland Scotland

Aiden McGeady on why he played for Ireland ahead of Scotland.

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Glasgow-born McGeady was eligible to play for Ireland through his paternal grandparents, who were born in a Gaeltacht area in Gweedore, Donegal.

In an interview with BBC Sport Scotland, he was asked if he received a 'lot of flak' for his decision to play for Ireland over Scotland. The Sunderland winger was dumbfounded by the question.

"Did I receive a lot of flak for that? Come on, man," McGeady responded, before saying that he was booed at every away ground in Scotland every time he touched the ball when playing for Celtic.

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"There are plenty of Scottish players that have played for other teams," he continued.

"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?"

He then explained why he ended up playing for Ireland over Scotland, the country of his birth.

McGeady didn't play for his school team in Glasgow, so he wasn't called up to the Scotland underage teams. Ireland did not have such a rule.

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Aiden McGeady Ireland Scotland

"I made the decision when I was 14. It’s not like I made the decision when I was 18," McGeady said.

"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."

Meanwhile, Packie Bonner, the former Ireland goalkeeper who worked as a technical director for the FAI at the time, reached out to McGeady's father and grandparents and the talented winger switched allegiance to Ireland.

He went on to play 93 times for the Boys in Green and represent the country at Euro 2012 and Euro 2016.

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"Packie Bonner knew my dad and my grandparents. He asked if I wanted to play for Ireland from like Under-14, Under-15. Then I just played for Ireland. That was it.

"I knew the boys. I liked the setup. 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."

McGeady also detailed the abuse he suffered when playing in Scotland after he opted to represent Ireland.

He questioned why other players who switched international allegiance did not receive similar treatment. McGeady feels that he, and James McCarthy, a fellow Glaswegian who played for Ireland, were targetted.

Aiden McGeady Ireland Scotland

McGeady on the abuse he suffered in Scotland after playing for Ireland.

"It’s small-minded individuals, isn’t it? That’s all it is," McGeady said.

"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.

"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's career.

McGeady made 252 appearances for Celtic and helped them win four Scottish titles before he signed for Spartak Moscow in 2010 in a transfer worth £9.5m.

After four years in Russia, the winger returned to the UK to sign for Everton. He also had spells with Sheffield United, Preston North End and Charlton Athletic on loan.

McGeady, 36, has played for Sunderland since 2017 and helped the Black Cats earn promotion back to the Championship this season. He is out of contract in the summer.

The winger last played for Ireland in 2017.