McGeady focused on reaching play-offs

Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady is determined to emerge from the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with no regrets.

Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady is determined to emerge from the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with no regrets.

A point from their final fixture against Armenia in Dublin tonight will hand the Republic a ticket for yet another crack at the play-off lottery.

They might have settled for that from the off after being paired with Russia in Group B, although they know they might have pushed Dick Advocaat’s side even harder had they managed to beat Slovakia rather than draw with them both home and away.

However, having emerged from their trip to Moscow with a hard-fought draw, they know too that their fate might not have remained theirs to decide as the group drew to a conclusion.

Asked what it would mean to him if Ireland missed out, McGeady said: “Nobody would be more disappointed than ourselves, because it’s a fine line between winning and losing and qualifying and not.

“If we had beaten Slovakia, if we had nicked a goal in the last five minutes, we would probably have gone through in first place, the same with Slovakia away from home.

“But then you look from a different point of view: if Russia had scored in Moscow, we would have been further down the pecking order.

“We are obviously grateful for where we are, but it would be very, very disappointing if we didn’t qualify in second place and get the play-off.”

McGeady has produced some of his best form in an Ireland shirt during the current campaign, and was the star man in Andorra on Friday evening as the Republic cruised to a 2-0 win.

Team-mate John O’Shea described him as a “world-class” player after the game at the Estadi Comunal, and there is a growing consensus that his game has reached a new level since his departure from Celtic.

McGeady said: “I’m delighted if people think that. I think myself I had to get away from Celtic, it was the right time to move on because I felt I was stagnating a little bit.

“A change of scenery, a change of league, a change of football, everything has been like a breath of fresh air for me.

“I have been enjoying it so far, and long may it continue. Since I came back from injury, I have been pretty happy. I have been playing well enough for Spartak and I was quite pleased with the game against Andorra the other night.

“Obviously, it’s up to me to maintain that form and level of consistency, and that’s what I want to achieve.”

Ireland know they could face a difficult evening with Armenia in top form, but McGeady is confident there is enough in their dressing room to get the job done even without injured skipper Robbie Keane.

He said: “I’m quietly confident, yes. I know we have got the players who can do it. It’s down to us on the night.”

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