Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has left Aiden McGeady out of tonight's World Cup qualifier against Montenegro. A yellow card for McGeady in the final Group 8 match would have resulted in the player missing the first leg of next months vital play-off games and his national coach wasn't prepared to take that risk. It means that Aiden can now concentrate on Celtic's upcoming SPL and Europa League clashes and he's hoping that he can continue his good run of form. The loss in the Glasgow derby at Ibrox saw the team's lead at the top of the table cut back to just one point but Aiden isn't unduly concerned with the side's overall form in the SPL.
"As a team, I think we are progressing, and it's good to be top of the league, even though we lost against Rangers." he said. "Everybody will say it, but we really do just want to get back to winning ways against Motherwell on Saturday. I think everyone would agree there is more to come from us. At times we haven't been at our best. But we are still top and that's got to be a positive."
"The Rangers game was our first defeat, and that can happen in derbies. You never win every game at Ibrox." added Celtic's number 46. "Taking everything into consideration, our results have been pretty good, even though the performances haven't always been our best. So far, we have played Rangers, Aberdeen, Hibs, Hearts and Dundee United, all teams you would expect to be in the top six. It has not been the easiest start, but we are in front and we are looking to increase that lead."
Next Thursday's Europa League clash with Bundesliga giants Hamburg also looms large in McGeady's thoughts and he insists that Celtic have no option but to go for it against the team currently sitting in joint first place at the top of the German league. "It's a must-win game. " said the Irish international midfielder. "There's no other way to describe it. Drawing with Rapid was a sore one and it makes these Hamburg games even more important. Rapid are quite a strange team because, to look at them player by player, you start to wonder how they beat Aston Villa and Hamburg. But then we saw first-hand how well organised and how dangerous they can be. They were hard to break down and sat behind the ball."
"But the Hamburg games will be a lot different." he concluded. "They will be a lot more attacking and we should see two teams going at it in both games. We really need to take something from the Hamburg matches."