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Aiden McGeady Learned Early In His Celtic Career That You DO NOT Nutmeg Neil Lennon

Aiden McGeady Learned Early In His Celtic Career That You DO NOT Nutmeg Neil Lennon
By Mikey Traynor Updated

After joining former Preston North End manager Simon Grayson - who was so good for the Irishman's football over the past year - at Sunderland, Aiden McGeady is looking forward to trying to get the club back into the Premier League next season.

McGeady was fantastic in the Championship for PNE as he bamboozled defenders week-after-week and produced goals and assists with regularity, as it appeared that he was enjoying his football in a manner that we hadn't seen since he made the breakthrough at Celtic over a decade ago.

While those days in Glasgow will always be a highlight in the life of the boyhood Celtic fan, they were not without their difficult situations, and in a fantastic sit-down interview with Si Ferry for Open Goal Sport, McGeady revealed just how tough those early days training with the first team were.

Neil Lennon was one of the senior players at the club at the time, and McGeady recalls how the Lurgan man made his first training session with the big dogs feel like a nightmare.

I was doing well with the ressies, and thinking I might get a wee chance here training with the first team, and I remember getting told before training I got the shout to go up and train with the first team, and not mixed training where it's like half first-team/half ressies, it was just three of us with the first team.

Everybody was there, Henrik Larsson, I was nervous, of course I was nervous. I remember, that first day, thinking to myself; 'I don't actually know if I'm good enough here'.

Ball was going under my foot, Lenny was absolutely torturing me, Lenny was actually like this:

'Who is this guy!? Who is this wee guy!? What am I training with here!?'

After that I was like, don't give me the ball. After that session I was thinking if the occasion got to me, I don't know if I'll train with the first team again.

But Aiden would indeed get more chances.

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Over the coming weeks he trained with the first team regularly and travelled to away matches even though he was kept in the stands.

Soon, McGeady had realised that he was not out of his depth and began to play with a confidence that meant he was able to show what he was capable of. We all know that he's got quick feet, but Neil Lennon found that out the hard way.

McGeady paints a picture of an hilarious situation on the Celtic training ground after he popped the ball through the legs of 'Lenny' and instantly regretted it.

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Lenny terrorised me that [first] day, but after that he was fine, and, you know what he's like...

I’ve got the ball in training and there’s nowhere else to go, and Lenny was running towards me full pace. I just went like that, megs, don't think I called it, but I've just megged him and he was threatening to kill me!

He said, ‘Do that again and I’ll kill you!’

I was still a young guy, still only 17, and so I was just like, 'Alright'.

And then I remember Thommo [Alan Thompson] came up and said, 'I’ll give you £100 if you meg him again'.

I said, 'No Thommo I can’t – he’ll batter me!'

Then Henrik Larsson came over and said, ‘If you want to meg him again, meg him. You’re on the same pitch as him’.

And I went, aye, you're right... I never megged him again though.

Is there any Celtic story from that era that doesn't result in Henrik Larsson coming across as a great bloke? It's doubtful.

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Alan Thompson trying to get him in more trouble too, just brilliant.

Thompson is actually someone McGeady had a number of comical run-ins during his time at Celtic, and you can watch Part 1 of McGeady's cracking interview with Open Goal below which is packed with similar anecdotes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXJI8N7WM1E

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