Nakamura inspired by McGeady example

SHUNSUKE Nakamura admits Aiden McGeady has set a benchmark for spellbinding performances with Celtic this season.

Republic of Ireland winger McGeady has shown inspired form for Gordon Strachan's side, hitting seven goals including a hat-trick against Falkirk.

The 21-year-old has been outstanding during Nakamura's absence from the first team, but the Japanese wideman is now back in action after two-and-a-half months on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And Nakamura recognises he must attempt to match McGeady's displays as Celtic look to claw back Rangers' four-point lead at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

With McGeady on the left and Nakamura back to fitness on the right, Strachan's team are entering a crucial stage of the season as they look to achieve a hat-trick of league titles.

Nakamura told Celtic View: "Aiden has been really good and is having great performances just now. Hopefully I can do the same things on my side of the pitch that may make things easier for him."

Nakamura, 29, has noticed a change in Celtic's approach this season and claims the added pace to their game suits McGeady.

"The build-up seems a little bit faster at times now, and that means Aiden gets the ball quicker and has more space to work in. That seems to be working," he said.

"Now I'm back from injury, it would be good if I could do the same on the right hand side and help the team in the same way as Aiden's been doing."

Japanese outfit Yokohama F Marinos have expressed interest in taking Nakamura back to the J League, but Celtic are eager to keep him at Parkhead.

If the coming months do prove to be his last in Glasgow, Nakamura will be sorely missed by the Celtic supporters.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But he is focused only on the immediate future, and is determined to contribute significantly over the rest of the campaign – having finally been able to take a breather.

He has had barely a chance to take a break in recent seasons, with last summer's Asian Cup cutting into his holiday.

Nakamura's injury break may not have been welcomed by Celtic, but they could reap benefits over the next four months.

"I thought, this is my time to get over the injury and have a break from competitive football," Nakamura said.

"Now I feel refreshed and ready to go for the rest of the season."

Meanwhile, Celtic striker Scott McDonald has been named in Australia's squad for the World Cup qualifier against Qatar in Melbourne on 5 February. The SPL's top scorer faces a 24,000-mile round trip at a congested part of the season.

Former Celtic striker Mark Viduka has been left out of the Socceroos' squad amid reports that the Newcastle player is poised to announce his international retirement.

New Australia coach Pim Verbeek has named a 39-man squad, including Liverpool winger Harry Kewell, Everton's Tim Cahill and West Ham's Lucas Neill.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I have deliberately kept the squad big to give us maximum flexibility until match day," said Verbeek.


DUNDEE United chairman Eddie Thompson last night warned anyone interested in signing Barry Robson they will need hard cash – not offers laden with clauses.

Thompson has already turned down bids from Owen Coyle's Burnley and Nottingham Forest after they failed to meet his asking price of around 1.5million.

"We have turned down two bids for Barry as neither was anywhere near what we would be looking for," said Thompson.

"One of the offers was well off the mark and the other was heavily dependant on top-ups.

"Of course, we know how the negotiation process works and I don't for a minute expect this to be the last we hear from other clubs before the window shuts."

United are expected to complete the signing of former Hearts striker Mark De Vries this morning.