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Martin O'Neill: I would have taken seven points at this stage

“We still have to win at home — everything depends on what happens in our home matches.”

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL REMAINS upbeat about Ireland’s qualification chances despite the team’s loss to Scotland in a crucial qualifier on Friday.

A Shaun Maloney goal 15 minutes from time was enough, as Ireland lost out at the expense of their Group D rivals.

Yet despite this blow, O’Neill said he would have taken seven points at this stage if offered to him at the start of the campaign.

“Would I have taken the points at this minute? I probably would. Would I reverse the scores from Scotland and Germany? Perhaps.

“We have to help ourselves and get help from the crowd when Poland and Scotland get here from the Aviva.

“There’s massive disappointment at this minute because we didn’t get anything from the game, but it’s not gloom, doom and despair.”

And while conceding that the Irish team underperformed last Friday, the Derry native feels Scotland weren’t much better.

“These games have been tight. We’re playing away from home. We didn’t play brilliantly. I thought Scotland didn’t play brilliantly.

“The game was disrupted by fouls, a stop-start game. You’d expect Scotland to have more of the ball, but statistically speaking, it wasn’t that much more.

“We still have to win at home — everything depends on what happens in our home matches.”

As for tonight’s opponents, O’Neill admitted to being familiar with some players more than others.

“There’s quite a number of players I recognise from World Cup duty and new players I don’t recognise so well.

“It’ll be a test for us. I thought they played brilliantly in the World Cup.”

Originally published 06.15

Martin O’Neill ‘hasn’t read’ controversial Roy Keane comments>

‘I’m a big fan of Roy Keane but he says some stupid things’ – Everton chairman>

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Paul Fennessy

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