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Martin O'Neill: play like that again and we can do Scotland in June

The Ireland boss was delighted with his side’s fighting spirit.
Mar 29th 2015, 10:24 PM 6,175 10

IRELAND MANAGER Martin O’Neill praised his side’s never-say-die spirit which once again saw them claim a late, crucial goal tonight.

The Boys in Green rescued what may be a vital point in the bid to reach Euro 2016 thanks to an injury time strike from substitute Shane Long.

“The one thing you could say against this side, they don’t lack spirit anyway,” he told Tony O’Donoghue afterwards.

“We’ve kept going right til the end. It was a late goal in Georgia, a late goal against Germany, a late goal here. It’s not to say that we don’t deserve it tonight. The second half performance was really fantastic. We had them on the back foot the whole second half. And it would have been a shame if we wouldn’t have got something out of the game tonight.

“I thought we started a little bit tentatively. Poland didn’t cause us too many problems. We’ve given away a really silly goal which put us on the back foot for a little while but I thought we rectified that.  It was a great effort by the team.”

Robbie Brady was the culprit for that ‘silly’ goal in the first half and the hull City winger — deployed as a stand in left back — looked less than match sharp throughout.

“I thought we could have caused more danger because he’s pretty accurate with them and just the first half… maybe a bit of nerves,” admitted O’Neill. “It was a big occasion. But having said that, we’ve got a number of experienced players in the side so there shouldn’t be a need for panic. But just delighted. We’re still in the competition. We still have to beat Scotland now in June and if we show the same determination, the same spirit and the same ability — and let’s not forget that — I think we can do them.”

Thousands of Poles were scattered throughout the crowd on a night in which the stadium was rocking.

“Well I have to say the crowd was fantastic. I thought actually the atmosphere against Gibraltar was very good. I know we got off to a great start and so we were able to keep the momentum going but tonight was special. I thought it was a brilliant effort all round by the players and supporters.

“And the supporters even at 1-0 down never gave up and we rewarded them in the end. And if the game had maybe been a few minutes longer we might have won it,” said O’Neill.

Player ratings: How the Boys in Green fared against Poland

Ireland leave it late once again but live to fight another day

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Adrian Russell

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