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'We've still a long way to go' - O'Neill insists the job is only half-done

Ireland’s manager was delighted with the team spirit shown by his players tonight.

O'Neill jumps into the air as Shane Long scores the winner.
O'Neill jumps into the air as Shane Long scores the winner.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL ISN’T getting ahead of himself after the biggest win of his managerial career with Ireland.

Shane Long’s 70th-minute goal handed them a 1-0 victory at home to Germany at the Aviva Stadium, and Ireland are now guaranteed a play-off place with automatic qualification for Euro 2016 a real possibility.

The Derryman was full of praise for his players, but will now turn his attention to Sunday’s final group game in Warsaw.

“I’m naturally delighted to win the game, unfortunately we have still a long way to go yet but it was great to beat the Germans, the world champions, considering the things we had to overcome,” O’Neill said.

“It was a fantastic effort and they deserve enormous credit.

“I played Stephen Ward at left back and knew he wouldn’t last the game and Robbie (Brady) went into midfield.

“In the first half I thought we gave away possession too easily but we were exceptionally brave in the second half to get on the ball which is what I asked.

“There was great courage to get on ball in tight situations and not panic. Then we came more into the game.

“Then Shane comes on and scores a wonder goal and gives us something to hold onto.

“I knew the half time score in Scotland and heard they had scored.

“I felt we had to go and win the game, not that we weren’t trying before the game, and the goal gave us a great lift.

“They showed great courage and determination and some ability to conjure up a result.”

With Poland and Scotland drawing in Glasgow tonight, Ireland can move into second place and qualify automatically for Euro 2016 if they can pick up a 2-2 draw or better over the weekend.

“We most likely have to win a game or draw 2-2, 3-3, 4-4….but let’s just try and win it,” added O’Neill.

I will think about Poland in the morning but tonight I’m genuinely delighted at the great spirit as we had to overcome a lot.

“I had heard Poland had equalised (at the end) and I was pleased as with four minutes left in our game, there was the chance of Germany coming up the field to score.

“The players on the pitch at the end absolutely didn’t know what score was in Scotland, but it’s taken us into the playoffs.”

Automatic qualification still up for grabs and the other talking points from Ireland’s win over Germany

Here’s how people are reacting to the Boys in Green defeating the world champions

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Ben Blake

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