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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Thursday, 22 July 2010 16:54 UK

Martin O'Neill full of praise for Aiden McGeady

Celtic winger Aiden McGeady
McGeady has three years of his contract to run at Celtic Park

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has reiterated his admiration for Celtic's Aiden McGeady, while carefully refusing to be drawn on his signing plans.

"I think Aiden McGeady has the ability to play in the Premier League, without question," said O'Neill.

"I had him as a kid at Celtic and played him without worrying too much about his youth.

"He played against AC Milan one night in the Champions League at Celtic Park and he was absolutely fantastic."

O'Neill was speaking in Dublin, where Villa will be based for a four-day training camp.

And he was quizzed about speculation linking him to the Republic of Ireland international trio of McGeady, Robbie Keane and Stephen Ireland.

"We have been linked with an awful lot of players and I would expect that because we are a top quality Premier League side," added O'Neill, who has admitted he is prepared to sell England midfielder James Milner.

"There's no point in me mentioning names but, without wanting to lose players of the calibre of Milner, we would want to try to recruit some players.

"But, as the chairman said at the back end of last season, it's probably going to be a case of having to sell to buy and that's something I'm delving into at the moment."


McGeady has three years of his contract to run at Celtic and Spartak Moscow were told the 24-year-old was not for sale when the Russians made an enquiry in early June.

And Aston Villa's fierce rivals Birmingham had an approach for the winger rejected in January.

However, Celtic boss Neil Lennon said last week that he thought the player was keen on a move away from Glasgow.

"Aiden hasn't said to me he wants to leave in so many words," revealed Lennon. "But that vibe came from his side of things."

Villa skipper Richard Dunne, an international team-mate of McGeady, is also a fan of the Celtic star.

"I haven't spoke to Aiden but he's been brilliant up there and probably the next step for him is the Premier League.

"Whether that's with us or not, I don't know."

Meanwhile, O'Neill has backed his former team Celtic to regain the Scottish Premier League title following back-to-back championship wins for Rangers.

Asked if he thought his former player Lennon could steer the club to success in his first season in charge, O'Neill answered: "I genuinely do.

"It seems to be auguring well, because Rangers are selling players and I saw Walter Smith saying he had a slight concern about letting players go and not getting anybody in.

"Celtic look pretty strong. They had a great back end to last season, in terms of league games. Neil has the backroom team he's asked for, so there's no reason he can't go on and take it ."

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see also
Celtic boss chases more new faces
22 Jul 10 |  Celtic
O'Neill prepared to sell Milner
22 Jul 10 |  Aston Villa
Celtic warn Spartak off McGeady
04 Jun 10 |  Celtic
O'Neill hails job done by Lennon
21 May 10 |  Celtic
Birmingham's McGeady bid rebuffed
07 Jan 10 |  Birmingham

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