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'It's a waste of time to work on things and then shy away when you make a mistake'

Josh Cullen calls on Ireland players to stand up and be counted when they face a much-improved Scotland on Saturday.

Josh Cullen (left) with Stephen Kenny.
Josh Cullen (left) with Stephen Kenny.
Image: PA

IF EVER THE Ireland players needed a reminder that Scotland will be a completely different proposition on Saturday to the one comprehensively beaten in June, their 3-0 win over Ukraine last night provided it.

Some of Stephen Kenny’s squad gathered to watch that Hampden Park rout and Josh Cullen was one of those impressed by what he saw.

“Their performance was obviously full of energy and it was a great result for them. It was a good win but Saturday is a new day and we have to be confident and full of belief that we can get a good result,” he said.

“And, yeah, this morning we had a meeting and touched on the performance from Scotland last night and how they set up and how they performed. I’m sure we still have a couple of days to prepare and talk as a team.

“Look, the main focus is on us. We need to make sure we go and perform as best as we can. Like I said earlier, it was a good performance and result from them last night, but Saturday is a new day against a new team and we’ll be going there full of confidence from the preparation we had.

josh-cullen Cullen was speaking earlier today. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“We’ve analysed then and shown them full respect in our preparation. We’ve analysed areas where we think we can hurt them and get at them during the game, and we have analysed their threats that obviously we’ll be trying to nullify.

“It comes down to us to put all of that into practice on the day and if we can do that, we’re confident we can go and get another result.”

What may have been lost from Ireland’s 3-0 victory over the Scots during the summer was the fact the defence cough up two gilt-edge chances to John McGinn in the opening quarter of an hour which really should have been punished.

Ireland escaped after slow and sloppy play from the back but Cullen is adamant they need to persevere and not take the easy way out.

You have to believe in the philosophy of the team, the way the manager wants to play, the style and there would be a waste of time if we came here and worked on stuff and then as soon as one mistake happened, we shied away from it and went to a different style.

“Yeah, we have to be brave and play out from the back, and yeah, if mistakes happen, they happen, we have to react as a team but the more we do it, the more we improve, hopefully the less mistakes will happen.”

Lyndon Dykes, who scored twice off the bench against Ukraine and will now be vying for a start said they’ve “got one to give Ireland” but Cullen was refusing to get drawn into a tit-for-tat exchange.

“Not really, no. We’re hungry as well to go and get another result. If they see it as a revenge mission or however they view the game, we’re just as determined to go there and get another three points and put in another good performance.

“That doesn’t change how I view the game, or how everyone in camp views the game.

“You have to have a balance. Don’t get me wrong, we still looked at the game in the summer and areas where we can improve and just getting carried away that we won 3-0 and everything is going to be fine.

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scotland-v-ukraine-uefa-nations-league-group-1-hampden-park Niall McGinn scored for Scotland last night. Source: PA

“There were areas of that game that we sat down and analysed as a team where we can improve as well and working on that this week. I’m sure the same goes for Scotland, I’m sure they’ll review their game last night and they won 3-0 and look at areas where they can improve.
“That’s the nature of the game now.”

Since that impressive summer window – in which Cullen played all four games – the midfielder has joined Burnley where his former Andelercht boss Vincent Kompany is now in charge.

That has allowed him get reacquainted with the rigours of Championship football, as well the hectic schedule that comes with it, and he has also spoken of the benefit the Ireland players have felt from being able to spend more time together leading up to Saturday’s game.

After a morning training session at FAI headquarters earlier today, the squad departed for Dublin airport with final preparations getting underway at Hampden Park tomorrow.

It always takes a little [to get momentum back] bit of time but I think the good thing is, we’ve had a full week.

“We met up together in camp on Sunday and had a full week’s preparation leading into the game to come back from all our various clubs and all get back on the same page and the same style that we obviously want to play with Ireland.

“We’re ready to go now, we’ve had a good week’s training and we’re looking forward to the game.”

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