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Mixed feelings for Ireland's debutant after a bittersweet night

CJ Hamilton made his appearance in the defeat to Ukraine.

Ireland’s CJ Hamilton comes on for his international debut.
Ireland’s CJ Hamilton comes on for his international debut.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CJ HAMILTON was left to reflect on mixed feelings, as he made his Ireland debut amid the disappointing Nations League loss to Ukraine.

The 27-year-old Blackpool winger replaced Chiedozie Ogbene in the 77th minute, but could not help Ireland find an equaliser in his limited time on the pitch.

“A disappointing result but obviously a proud night for me and my family, making my debut tonight,” he told reporters afterwards.

“It was crazy, to be in your home country in the Aviva, to make your debut, it’s unexplainable sometimes.”

Four family members came to the game tonight and the Harrow-born attack expects more in attendance for Saturday’s clash with Scotland.

“My thoughts going on were to try and affect the game as much as possible,” he added. “I thought we could get the equaliser. Everyone was disappointed that we lost but now it is about bouncing back and trying to get a result on Saturday.”

Having got the first game at international level under his belt, Hamilton is hopeful more appearances will swiftly follow, after an impressive season in the Championship earned him a first call-up.

“Hopefully, that’s the case, I’ll keep working hard in training and get a first start.

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“I think playing any international team is going to be hard because anyone is playing at a good level. I think we’re good enough to beat teams like that. It’s another step, international football is a big stage. It’s a lot harder but I think I can adapt to it. Just the tempo of the game, the players you come up against are at top clubs and stuff like that.” 

Asked about the mood in the dressing room following a second successive defeat, Hamilton added:  “Everyone was disappointed coming in, but we thought we played well, created enough chances to get something out of the game. So now it’s on to Saturday.

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Paul Fennessy

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