never give up

Robbie: 'That was the message everyone was saying: there’s no way we’re out of this'

Scots happier with a draw, Keane says, but Ireland can still force their way to France.

Ireland supporters look on Ireland's fans couldn't hide their disappointment at two points dropped against Scotland.

ROBBIE KEANE VOWED that Ireland will keep fighting until the bitter end as their Euro 2016 dreams slipped further away.

Ireland’s record goalscorer came off the bench for the final 17 minutes but couldn’t find a breakthrough as Scotland left Dublin with a priceless point.

The 1-1 draw keeps Gordon Strachan’s side two points clear in third place, and leaves the Boys in Green with a mountain to climb on the road to France.

Shaun Maloney struck in the first minute of the second half, cancelling out Jon Walters’ opener with the help of a fortunate deflection, and Keane admitted that that Ireland had been caught napping.

He said: “Football is for 90-plus minutes so you always have to be switched on, knowing that they have clever players that can do something.

The goal was a very, very lucky goal but we gave them opportunities to do that. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and they got it.

The Scottish equaliser took the wind out of Ireland’s sails after a first half in which the hosts were the better side.

“When you concede a goal, you know some lads’ heads drop,” Keane added.

“Momentum was with them at stages where they kept the ball and tried to frustrate us at times but without really doing anything.

“They got their goal and they knew what they came here for was to get a draw and they did that. Obviously they’re going away more happy than we are.”

Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Keane started the evening on the bench as Martin O’Neill went with the physical presences of Walters and Daryl Murphy to lead the line.

The LA Galaxy striker has struggled with injury for the past two months and never expected to start, but in a week in which two of his cousins died in tragic circumstances, he was given a raucous welcome from the sold-out Aviva Stadium crowd.

“It was a great reception.

It’s been a tough week. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but for all the family it’s been difficult.

“I was ready for the game. Physically I probably wasn’t ready for it in terms of my fitness and the way I’ve been. I played 90 minutes last week. I was only supposed to play 60 but I ended up playing 90. I’ve been out for two months.

“It’s a long time so I wouldn’t have been able to start the game and trying to play for 90 minutes would have been difficult after being out for such a long time.”

With time fast running out on Ireland’s chances, he knows that nothing less than six points from the September double-header against Gibraltar and Georgia will do.

We’ll keep plugging away. We’re definitely not out of this and that was the message that everyone was saying to each other. There’s no way we’re out of this.

“Scotland still have a couple of tough games coming up. There’s no easy games in the group but in our next two games, we’ll be looking to get six points.”

‘We’re still in contention’ — O’Neill optimistic despite qualification setback

Here’s how we rated the Boys in Green in tonight’s Euro 2016 qualifier

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