James Crombie/INPHO Ireland’s manager Martin O’Neill reacts to tonight's game.
# Reaction
Martin O'Neill: Ireland deserved a draw tonight
The Irish manager tried to focus on the positives following their disappointing 1-0 loss to Scotland.

MARTIN O’NEILL TRIED to focus on the positives after Ireland suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Scotland tonight.

The Boys in Green were ultimately overcame by a moment of magic from Scottish winger Shaun Maloney, before Ireland went close late on after a headed effort came off the cross bar.

And while Scotland prevailed, O’Neill told RTÉ that had a late equaliser been secured, it would have been deserved.

“It was called a Derby game before and that’s probably how it panned out. I felt we were dealing with things reasonably well and the goal’s naturally a disappointment to us.

“It was a chance [at the end] and I honestly feel we would have deserved to have got it. I didn’t think Scotland created a whole deal in the game, and for the home side, I thought the onus was on them to attack.

“When the goal came, we were under a little bit of pressure, but not unduly.”

Asked if Ireland could have passed the ball more, O’Neill felt the unique nature of the fixture stopped that from happening.

“It was a frenetic game. You’d have to ask Scotland the same thing. We attempted to be as strong as we possibly could. We played two up and tried to go for the game. There are certain games where it’s very difficult to get it down. None of the two sides were able to do that given the frenetic conditions, but when we did get it down, we caused them some problems.”

O’Neill also lamented Ireland’s sloppy marking for Maloney’s decisive goal.

“Of course we’re disappointed and we should have seen the danger — the third man was always spare for them.

“We particularly can’t afford to lose [injured] players, but we had a team out there who were good enough to win the game.

“We’re not out of this, we have seven points, the same as Scotland, and we have four of our next five matches at home. Regardless of the result tonight, everything will depend on 2015.”

Man-of-the-match Jon Walters was similarly downbeat, echoing O’Neill’s view that there wasn’t much between the sides.

“Everyone’s pretty low. Fine margins have settled the game and set pieces have cost us, but we got to pick ourselves up. We have seven points after three tough away games, but we’ve got Poland in March, and we’ll have to pick ourselves up for that.

“They’re the type of games where atmosphere and battle [is key] and they’ve won it. We’re by no means out of it and it’ll come down to our home games I think.”

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