©INPHO/Donall Farmer

'If the manager wants to play one up-front, I'm not f**king Niall Quinn and I'm not Shane Long'

Robbie Keane says he has to respect Martin O’Neill’s decision to drop him for last night’s clash with Scotland.

ROBBIE KEANE REFUSED to criticise Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill despite being dropped for the side’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland earlier tonight.

The team’s record goalscorer and captain was introduced with twelve minutes to go after Shaun Maloney had given the home side the lead with a curling right-footed strike but failed to make an impact in the closing stages as the Irish tried to desperately find a late leveller.

But in the aftermath of the loss, he told reporters that he had to respect O’Neill’s decision to leave him out, considering Ireland’s proposed attacking strategy.

If the manager wants to play one up-front, I’m not fucking Niall Quinn and I’m not Shane Long. They’re better at that than I am. If you play two up front and want to score goals, then that’s my game. I prefer to speak about the team rather than individuals – making a big deal out of someone starting a game. The manager made a decision and you have to respect that. Playing one up front doesn’t suit me so I think it’s fairly obvious that it’s not my game.”

Keane watched the majority of an uninspiring game from the bench and the battle reminded him of his brief stint in Scotland in 2010.

“It was the exact same as the Old Firm derby I played in when I came up here – no quality and people just trying to kick each other. It was a scrappy affair and whoever was going to get the first goal would go on and win the game and that was the case.”

Disappointed, certainly for a couple of reasons, Keane felt that after the draw with Germany, the optimism in the camp should’ve pushed the team to get something from the trip to Glasgow. Instead, it’s a case of what might have been.

“When you come away from home, the most important thing is that if you don’t win the game, you don’t lose it. Unfortunately tonight, we did.”

As it happened: Scotland v Ireland, Euro 2016 qualifier

Martin O’Neill: Ireland deserved a draw tonight

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