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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Laszlo Geczo/INPHO Ireland's Callum Robinson speaks to the media after the game.
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Callum Robinson delighted to inspire end to Ireland's winless run
The attacker was in good spirits after his brace helped Ireland seal a win in Baku.

CALLUM ROBINSON expressed his delight after scoring twice as Ireland secured a first competitive win in over two years against Azerbaijan in Baku tonight.

The West Brom attacker’s impressive display came on the back of an eventful week in which his admission that he had not been vaccinated prompted criticism in some quarters, but the player was defended by manager Stephen Kenny and his Ireland team-mates.

And the player was not asked about his difficult week in the post-match interview, with RTÉ instead preferring to focus solely on the match.

Of his excellent first goal, Robinson said: “Obviously we’ve been working in training a lot in the pockets. I got there and it was early on in the game, so I just thought, get an early shot to catch the ‘keeper off guard. Luckily I did and it was nice to get that goal.”

Kenny afterwards suggested that the 26-year-old had scored with his two most difficult chances, and Robinson too lamented his inability to seal a hat-trick, wasting a couple of good chances in the second half.

“That one’s going to hurt for a while that I didn’t get a hat-trick in the end. Some good saves by the ‘keeper, took a shot on my right foot and obviously the header could have made it a perfect hat-trick. It was a good save from the ‘keeper, but I was happy first of all to get the win, that was the main thing, goals come second, but it was obviously nice to get on the scoresheet as well.”

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Not a conventional striker, Robinson instead had somewhat of a free role behind target man Adam Idah, and the player ultimately thrived in this system.

“As I’ve said in interviews before when people ask me what’s my best position in that frontline, I just enjoy being a free spirit, getting on the ball, being a threat, trying to score and assist, get on the half turn one v ones and I’m lucky enough that the gaffer gave me that licence to do that in the game.”

On the team finally ended their barren run in competitive matches, he added: “It’s obviously not nice, not getting wins for all of us, not just the manager, but all the staff, all the lads, we want to be winning games. Hopefully now we can build on this. Obviously, we’ve got a friendly on Tuesday night [against Qatar]. We’ve been playing well. We’ve probably played sometimes better than that in other games. But we got the result today and I think that’s all that mattered tonight.”

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