How the Irish fared: McGeady enjoys “breath of fresh air” after brilliant brace of goals

Aiden McGeady often flatters to deceive but the winger had an afternoon to savour on Saturday, scoring twice in Preston’s 4-2 win over Brentford, writes Darren Norris.

McGeady scored a first-half equaliser and his second — a superb finish from 25 yards — gave Preston breathing space before Daryl Horgan grabbed his first goal since joining North End from Dundalk.

McGeady joined Preston on a season-long loan from Everton last August and says he is loving life at present.

“It’s been a great day all round and I’ve been enjoying my football here — it’s been a breath of fresh air for me,” he said.

“I’ve not played that much in the last few years but I’ve enjoyed everything about it so far.”

Preston boss Simon Grayson revealed McGeady had been in receipt of a good-natured ribbing over his lack of goals earlier in the week and said Saturday’s display was the perfect response.

“We joked earlier this week about his end product, wanting a couple of better deliveries or shots on target and he has certainly responded to those cries today,” said Grayson.

“It was fantastic quality from Aiden and anyone who knows him and has watched him knows he is capable of that and we were delighted to see the ball hit the back of the net twice.”

Horgan was also thrilled to open his account but was keen to deflect any praise in McGeady’s direction.

“It was nice to score but I think the main headline is Aiden and his two goals this afternoon,” said Horgan.

“He was a constant thorn in their side with his two goals and the assist — both of his goals were something special.”

On Horgan, Grayson added: “Hopefully a first goal will give his confidence a big boost, because he is a good player and good lad, who is willing to work.”

Elsewhere, Wes Hoolahan scored a 30-yard stunner as Norwich hammered Nottingham Forest 5-1.

In attempting to save Hoolahan’s effort, Forest goalkeeper Stephen Henderson suffered an injury that ended his afternoon.

Forest boss Gary Brazil fears Henderson will now face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

A late own goal from Stephen Kelly meant bottom club Rotherham had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Blackburn.

It was a good day for the Irish managerial contingent, Chris Hughton’s Brighton maintaining their promotion push with a 4-1 win over Burton while Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich won 1-0 at Aston Villa.

In League One, John-Joe O’Toole scored twice as Northampton beat Chesterfield 3-1.

It was a less happy day for Kevin Foley as he scored an own-goal in Coventry’s 3-2 defeat at Oldham. Darren Potter was sent off as the MK Dons lost 1-0 at Oxford United.

James Collins was the sole Irish scorer in League Two but his effort came in vain as Crawley lost 2-1 at Luton.

In the Scottish Cup, Adam Barton scored the winner as Partick Thistle beat St Johnstone 1-0.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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