While Russia plan ahead of next month’s European qualifier against Ireland, it’s been a tough couple of months for the Republic’s midfielder, Aiden McGeady.
The 25-year-old has missed almost half of Spartak Moscow’s clashes this year due to an ankle injury after being widely regarded as the club’s player of the season.
He spoke to RT’s Eunan O’Neill.
RT: Aiden, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us. First things first, how is your injury progressing?
Aiden McGeady: It’s getting slightly better. It’s a bit frustrating being injured, I don’t know how people do it when they’re out for 8-9 months with broken legs and that. Touch wood that never happens to me. It’s just getting better every day, and I hope to be back playing in about two or three weeks.
RT: You’ve been in Russia just about a year now, since the start of August last year. How’s your Russian experience been so far?
AM: Overall, it’s been good. I’ve enjoyed the sort of different way of life over here. Obviously it takes a little bit of getting used to. But I’ve enjoyed it so far – obviously the football is the main thing, the football has been going reasonably well, too. And that’s what I’d say…obviously the difficult part is integrating into the life over here and the language but I’m getting slightly better at that as well.
RT: That’s what I was about to say – are you taking lessons?
AM: Well, I had one lesson, a couple of days ago – and after it my brain was frazzled – one hour and a half. It’s good, because I’m around it every single day, and I hear things, and obviously the best way to learn is (trails off)…I probably understand more than I speak just now. But as anyone will tell you, trying to learn Russian, it’s a difficult language, of course.
RT: Could you just describe to us what’s your typical day here at Spartak Moscow – training in the morning, etc?
AM: Quite sort of regimented to be honest with you. You come in for 10 o’clock in the morning normally. And then you see the doctor, you get weighed and you tick off all these boxes on how you’re feeling, morale-wise and how your body is.
You train [at] eleven. And then, after that, you’re either told to stay at the base until a certain time or you can go home. Football is a good life, obviously.
RT: Do you believe the team can finally fulfil what they have been trying to do for years now and win that championship?
AM: Yeah, well at the start of the season that was everyone’s aim. But, you know, the way we started – the first part of the championship was really, really poor. I mean, who’s to say now we couldn’t go on a run of unbeaten games, you know, during this part of the championship up to Christmas. And then, you know, be sitting second… top or second place. It’s obviously going to be difficult but now I think we have the squad to do that, and that’s everyone’s aim, just to get that level of consistency, because we play well one week, and then the next week we’ll draw nil-nil at home, or maybe we’ll lose one-nil. It’s just getting that level of consistency, I think.
But it’s obviously a very, very young squad we have here. But I think overall we have we have the players to do it – it’s just putting it into practice.
RT: You could have really gone to your pick of clubs – why did you choose Russia in the first place?
AM: To be honest with you, it was… Obviously, a lot of people still say to me ‘Why did you go?’ Obviously it was a football perspective. For me, it was a chance to go, to go and play in a better league, you know, and obviously progress my game. There’s still time, I’m still fairly young, there’s still time to play and fulfil the things I want to do in my football career, playing in England, wherever – abroad, Spain, but just now, you know, I thought the best opportunity for me was here. It was probably too good an opportunity to turn down and to say ‘no, I’ll stay at Celtic for another year’. Because I think it was time for me to move on. It was best for everyone that I did. Celtic got, obviously, a very good deal in me coming here – and likewise for me.
RT: Do you miss the Old Firm, the thrill of the huge game in Glasgow?
AM: Sometimes I miss the games – when I see it on TV, and when I’m back home, the best thing in football up until now for me was probably, you know, a sunny afternoon at Parkhead (Сeltic’s home ground), a Saturday afternoon at Parkhead – playing out there. You know, it doesn’t get much better than that.
But, you know, of course, things change in football, and I’m here now and I’m enjoying my time here.
RT: And just finally Aiden, on a lighter note – Is there anything you miss about Scotland and home, you know, the deep-fried Mars Bars or Irn-Bru?
AM: Deep-fried Mars Bars? What a stereotype that is! I’ve never actually had a deep-friend Mars Bar. Of course there’s home comforts you miss – I think the main thing that you miss is being able just to nip around and see your parents and friends. But that’s obviously part of life. I do miss the odd fish and chips and stuff like that as well. You don’t get much of that over here. And the Russian cuisine isn’t quite for me.
RT: Aiden, thanks so much for your time
AM: No problem. Thanks a lot. Cheers.