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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 21 October 2020
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'We were all delighted that it didn't turn out Denmark's way'

Mick McCarthy and the squad watched the group rivals’ game in their hotel last night.

Mick McCarthy pictured at today's press conference with Seamus Coleman.
Mick McCarthy pictured at today's press conference with Seamus Coleman.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND BOSS MICK McCarthy admitted his side were pleased after Denmark drew 0-0 with Georgia in last night’s Euro 2020 qualifier, but insisted the squad would not get carried away with the result.

Most of the Irish squad watched the game in the team hotel last night, and the result leaves them two points clear of the Danes at the top of Group D.

The Swiss, meanwhile, who beat Gibraltar 4-0 last night, sit three points behind the Boys in Green with a game in hand.

“Obviously I prefer it than if Denmark had won,” McCarthy said. “The draw will only be good for us if we continue to do our stuff.

“But yes, we were all sat watching it — most of us were sat watching it over dinner and we were all delighted that it didn’t turn out Denmark’s way.

I think it just re-emphasises what a good side Georgia are as well and what a tough game we’ve got ahead of us.”

Ireland will be hoping to succeed where the Danes failed and earn three points away in Tbilisi when they travel there for their next competitive match on 12 October.

“I was never going to try and do anything else, so it’s not changed my approach to it. I knew they were a good side, I knew they were a good side from watching them prior to us playing and then playing against them.

“We had a wonderful free-kick, we had a few chances to score, but they had chances in the game [at the Aviva] and yesterday, they looked like the team at the end of it who might have nicked it.

“They’re a good side — but we’re going to go and try to win there, of course.”

Team captain Seamus Coleman similarly suggested Ireland should not underestimate the Georgians, who sit fourth in Group D on four points.

Ireland have won nine out of 10 encounters since the sides first met in a Euro 2004 qualifier, though they had to settle for a 1-1 draw the last time the teams played each other in Tbilisi.

“I thought last night they were very good, but the last three or four times we played them they have been very difficult opponents,” the Everton star said.

“It’s a very hard place to go — that makes it very difficult. Last night, they deserved a point and were pushing towards the end to go and win the game.

We’ve always known what a difficult game that is. Scotland a few years ago found out how difficult it is. It’s no gimme for us to go out there and get three points. I think it’s going to be hard work, but as players, we knew that anyway. I think everyone now knows how difficult it is.”

McCarthy, meanwhile, confirmed tomorrow night’s friendly with Bulgaria would be a chance for some of the squad’s fringe players to get game time.

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The 60-year-old coach confirmed that James Collins was set for a senior debut, but did not elaborate on whether the Luton striker or Scott Hogan would start up front.

With regular left-back Enda Stevens set to be suspended for the Georgia clash, McCarthy played down suggestions that tomorrow night’s game would be used to test a potential candidate in the position.

Greg Cunningham, Matt Doherty, James McClean and Stephen Ward (who’s retired from international football as it stands) have all been mentioned as possibilities for the role.

McCarthy played down suggestions that he would deploy McClean as a full-back, while the other three are currently not part of the squad.

The Irish boss did express hope that Doherty, who has played left-back for Wolves before, would be fit and available by the time the Georgia clash comes around.

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Paul Fennessy

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