Keane, Trapattoni laud McGeady
The 24-year-old swapped Celtic for Spartak this summer in one of the more surprising transfers of recent years, and he has swiftly dispelled any doubts about how well he might adapt to the Russian game. McGeady scored his first goal against Amkar Perm last month, and yesterday he was backed to break his international duck by Republic captain Robbie Keane - against the country he now calls home.
Russia visit the Aviva Stadium in Dublin tonight for a key Group B fixture in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying, with the Republic looking to build on opening wins over Armenia and Andorra while Dick Advocaat's side will hope to bounce back from a shock home defeat by Slovakia.
Keane said of McGeady, who is yet to score in 34 international appearances: "In the last year he's become an even better player. I like Aiden as a player and I've got a lot of time for him as a lad as well. In the last few games he's showed maturity and is a player who is getting better and better. He's still only a young player. With his new team he's doing very well and for Ireland he's set a standard now and he has to continue it.
"He has the ability to score goals, he can beat players, he's got pace. I know Aiden is desperate to score a goal for Ireland and I'm sure he'll be hoping to do that against the country where he plays his football."
Republic boss Giovanni Trapattoni, meanwhile, has been impressed by McGeady's goal threat at Spartak and is even considering a change of position for the winger as he looks to make the most of his considerable talent. The Italian said: "Against Andorra he played very, very well. I've seen two of his games in Russia and he looks more confident. I think the move gave him freedom.
"He is getting closer to the goal and I've told him he can do the same for us, not just stay on the touchline. Sometimes with Spartak he plays second striker and I've thought about this before. He has the quality to play this role. He's happy and we are also happy because he can be a very important player for us."
Trapattoni confirmed he will pick the same XI that beat Andorra 3-1 last month, meaning McGeady will stay out wide for now while Keane and Kevin Doyle continue their partnership up front. Also keeping his place is Derby midfielder Paul Green, which will not please those who believe the spot should go to Manchester United's Darron Gibson.
Trapattoni, though, talked up Green's status as a valuable team member, saying: "It's best we don't put too much pressure on his shoulders because there have already been questions why are we not playing Gibson. It's about the team. He (Green) doesn't play beautiful football but he's very important. Every team has this type of player."