Aiden McGeady is to leave Celtic for the rather unusual destination of Moscow after six years as a Celtic first team regular. The club will receive a welcome transfer fee in the region of £9M in return.
McGeady was born in Glasgow and came through the youth ranks at Celtic Park. I can remember hearing talk several years ago of the teenage prodigy who was so highly thought of within the club, and was excited to see him make his first team debut against Hearts, aged 18. He scored the opening goal on 17 minutes and picked up the man of the match award.
Over the next couple of seasons McGeady became regular starter. The sight of number 46 on the wing was not one that SPL defenders relished and he showed his skills on a weekly basis, tormenting full backs.
Aiden’s best season came in 2007/ 08, where he was voted both Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year by his fellow professionals. He contributed 24 assists and 8 goals during the championship winning campaign, both of which were career highs
But from those heights, McGeady’s form slipped. Perhaps this was because teams routinely matched two or even three defenders against him. Perhaps the expectations on him to carry the side were too great. Whatever the reason, he was not as effective again.
McGeady made the decision to play international football for the Republic of Ireland, which caused controversy in some circles. He was roundly booed at certain Scottish grounds and newspapers regularly refer to him at the “Glasgow born Irishman”. Aiden has played over 30 internationals so far and is a key player in Giovanni Trappatoni’s plans for the future.
In his career to date Aiden has won seven major trophies- three SPL titles, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups. He played 252 games and scored 37 goals for Celtic over six years.
There is no doubt that Aiden McGeady is an exceptional football talent. He is perhaps the best individual player that the club has produced in 20 years or more. But question marks remain about whether he produced the type of end product that he should often enough.
At the age of 24 McGeady now leaves the club he has made his name with. It is perhaps the correct decision for him to seek a new challenge at this time, and to experience football in another country.
Good luck Aiden. I hope the move works out for you.