Aiden McGeady calls out Scotland’s Shame in BBC Sportsound interview

Aiden McGeady’s decision to represent Ireland, over Scotland, as a 14-year-old kid didn’t make the news, but when the time came for McGeady to make the step up to the full international set-up, the former Celt became public enemy number one.

At grounds up and down the country McGeady was abused from the stands, and the argument has always had two sides. Was McGeady boo-ed because he was a top talent who was viewed as declining the opportunity to choose to play for Scotland? Or was it that McGeady was a Celtic player choosing to play for Ireland over Scotland, and the abuse he received mired in sectarianism and anti-Irish racism.

Aiden Mcgeady celebrates after scoring the second Celtic goal during the CIS Insurance Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on March 15, 2009. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

I’m sure everyone will still have their own thoughts on either side of that argument. However, McGeady, interviewed by Kenny McIntyre for BBC Sport Scotland, has touched on that very subject, prompted of course by McIntyre.

And while the host seems willing to encourage McGeady to enter into a discussion, and McGeady happy to answer the questions, when the course of the interview sees McGeady ask for McIntyre’s view on the matter, the host appears somewhat uncomfortable and reticent to delve deeper when McGeady asks some questions of his own?

Aiden McGeady (R) of Celtic celebrates scoring a penalty with Scott McDonald against Rangers during the Co-operative Insurance Cup Final football match at Hampden Park, Glasgow on March 15, 2009. Photo GRAHAM STUART/AFP via Getty Images)

McIntyre: Your decision to represent the Republic of Ireland over Scotland – Again that was a difficult decision, did you receive a lot of flack for that?’

Aiden:  Did I receive a lot of flack for that? Come on man.

McIntyre: How tough. Give us an idea how tough it was?

Aiden: What, going to every away ground and getting boo-ed every time you touched the ball? Did that not happen? It did, didn’t it?

McIntyre: How did it affect you?

Aiden:  It didn’t affect me. Because I think there are plenty of players who have played for other teams, plenty of Scottish players that have played for other teams. Did Scott Arfield not play for Canada? Brian McLean, he chose Northern Ireland. Did they get the same abuse as me? Why did I get that abuse?

 Pedro Mendes brings down Celtic player Aiden Mcgeady during the CIS Insurance Cup Final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden Park on March 15, 2009 . (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

McIntyre:  Did you have any idea what was about to hit you when you made that decision?

Aiden:  No 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 you couldn’t play for your school team. If you didn’t play for your school team you couldn’t play for the (Scottish)schoolboys. Which was fine, but Ireland didn’t have that, and Packie Bonner knew my dad and my Grandparents. He asked if wanted to play for Ireland Under 14’s, 15’s and I was like ‘Well yeah’ so then I just played with Ireland and then that was it. I just knew all the boys, I liked the set-up, and then when I got into the first team, it was like ‘Oh my God how’s this guy not playing for Scotland?’ That’s why. It’s not like I’ve just chosen Ireland now so that was why.

 Thierry Henry of Barcelona chases Aiden McGeady of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League 2nd leg of the First knockout round match between FC Barcelona and Celtic at the Camp Nou stadium on March 4, 2007 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

McIntyre: Does it still hurt? The abuse you got the way you were treated?

Aiden:  No it’s small-minded individuals, isn’t it? That’s all it is. Like I said the other players I mentioned, why didn’t they get the same abuse that I got? Any idea?

McIntyre:  mumbles

Aiden: Because I played for Celtic, because I played for Ireland? Hearts Hibs, Motherwell, Falkirk, everywhere. Boo-ed everywhere I went, wanting me to fail, didn’t happen to anybody else, did it? James McCarthy got the same didn’t he as well? He got the same, plenty of other players have switched allegiance to countries, loads of them, but they’ve not all go that, but no in a way it’s a compliment, because if they didn’t think you were a good player they wouldn’t be bothering.’

 Nacho Novo of Rangers holds back Aiden McGeady of Celtic during the CIS Insurance Cup fourth round between Celtic and Rangers at Ibrox on November 10, 2004 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

McIntyre:  ‘What was life like off the park with that background then, as an Old Firm (sic) with that in the background?’

Aiden: ‘Yeah just the same really, Used to just get it everywhere I went really – Traitor, turncoat, Judas – not from everybody but from proper Scotland fans, which there aren’t many of in Glasgow, it’s mainly Ireland or England isn’t it?

Of course, McIntyre isn’t obliged to offer an opinion, after all the fall-back will be McIntyre is the interviewer and McGeady the interviewee, and let’s be honest, the issue of Anti – Irish racism still appears a subject not given the same level of importance as other forms of racism, homophobia or misogyny, yet interviewers are often willing, even happy, to give their opinions on such discrimination when interviewing.

Celtic’s Paul Telfer (L) congatulates the second goal scorer Aiden McGeady (C) with John Hartson (R) during the Scottish Premier League match between Falkirk Football Club and Celtic Football Club at the Falkirk Stadium on November 6, 2005. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Yet even despite taking McGeady down that path, and no doubt knowing full well the answers he was likely to receive, there wasn’t even a willingness on the part of the interviewer to open up the debate and delve deeper into a problem Scottish society pretends it doesn’t have.

McIntyre it appears was quite deliberate in taking Aiden McGeady down that path, and Aiden happy enough to talk about it, but when the subject required a response, McIntyre missed the opportunity to open it up and instead shifted the direction to an ‘old firm’ issue.

 Aiden McGaedy of Celtic trains at the club training ground ahead of their Champions league match against Shakhtar Donetsk November 27, 2007 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

As McGeady points out, other players chose to represent other countries and none received the levels of abuse he did – with perhaps the exception of James McCarthy who also chose the same route as McGeady. Now is that because players like Brian McLean and Scott Arfield weren’t viewed as being as talented as McGeady and McCarthy, or was it their down to their background and choosing that particular country to represent?

The chance to have that very debate was there, McGeady may even have been willing to go deeper still, but we’ll never know. Because, despite being willing to touch on the subject, Kenny McIntyre pulled back. I wonder how many other broadcasters, outside of Scotland, would have missed such an opportunity.

Niall J

 JANUARY 02: Aiden McGeady of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Kilmarnock at Celtic Park January 2, 2007 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.


  1. MacIntyre is a coward and a soup taker. He is also part of that sub-set of Scottish society that revels in hatred of Catholics and Irish. He is a master of deflection. He will not want to stand on toes as they are merciless when dealing with their own. There is plenty of video evidence of this and all of it is just waiting for the appropriate time when it will be useful. Scotland still has much of the mind-set of the 16th and 17th centuries, which was always part of the tool-set of British colonialists and is still used to divide and conquer. The mindless bigots are no more than tools for the corrupt establishment.

  2. MacIntyre is a hopeless weasel who knows full well why McGeady and McCarthy got the abuse. He can’t say it though because he was probably one of the ones dishing it out from the Scumdome stands…

  3. Michael Maher on

    Didn’t consider MacIntyre as a “soup taker”? Always thought he was from the ‘other side” from way back. Anyway no surprise how he responded. Same as virtually all media guys do. He immediately deflects it to an “Old Firm” issue. When George Square was being vandalised last year and evidence or racist, sectarian songs and sentiment was clearly heard for the whole world to hear there was a brief reaction from politicians and media. Nobody in the media however was really prepared to go into the real full reason why Rangers have fans with such an Anti Catholic attitude. And what has changed since then? If last weeks footage from Seville had shown fans expressing their hatred of Jews or Muslims, would there have been more coverage of it? We all know the answer to that, in the sameway we all know the real reason why Aiden McGeady got booed.

    • Correct Mike, his a a self declared blue nose. At least he doesn’t hide it like some of the others. To me the worst ones are guys like Keevins.