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'He's a bit down but we'll look after him obviously'

Troy Parrott missed a glorious chance to score in Ireland’s 2-1 loss to Scotland on Saturday night.

Troy Parrott after the game.
Troy Parrott after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

FOOTBALL IS AN unforgiving business: all the earnest toil in the shaded wings will be ignored if one can’t deliver their single line beneath the spotlight. 

Troy Parrott’s work-rate in the 2-1 loss to Scotland in the Nations League on Saturday was outstanding: battling with centre-backs in the air and bustling with them on the ground, winning aerial duels and leading the press. 

He was denied an early goal by an offside flag, though dribbled and finished cooly in a sign of things not to come. 

It was just before the hour mark that he had his golden chance. Ireland broke from a Scottish corner, Michael Obafemi brilliantly rode a cynical, Cannigia-esque challenge and then slid the ball through for Parrott, who had an age to pick his spot beyond Craig Gordon. 

Perhaps he had too long. Parrott ultimately shot tamely, and saw the effort saved by Gordon.

It was a glorious chance, and deemed such a sure thing that Obafemi started celebrating before Parrott took his shot. 

“It was a massive moment”, admitted Jayson Molumby. “For me, with Troy, nine times out of 10 I’d back him to score. It’s just disappointing. We’re all a bit down, he’s a bit down but we’ll look after him obviously, everyone will get around each other, regroup and try to put things right on Tuesday.”

“He knows he should have scored, he knows that was a big chance”, said Stephen Kenny. “He is only 20 years of age, he has scored four goals already for Ireland, he is improving. Okay, he is having a period where he is not scoring at club level, but he is capable of scoring more goals. With strikers sometimes they come in clusters, and he is in a spell of not scoring. But he still played well and though he didn’t score he contributed to a lot of elements of the team.” 

Neither player scored, but there was some succour to be found in the fact Obafemi and Parrott reprised their encouraging partnership. 

“In the previous game when they played together, they were brilliant as a pairing that night”, said Kenny, referencing the 3-0 win against Scotland in June. “They still had good moments, not at that level. Obviously Michael hasn’t played much in the last couple of weeks. They have shown good potential as a pairing, you can definitely see that.” 

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Obafemi was surprisingly withdrawn shortly after his tee-up for Parrott, replaced by Chiedozie Ogbene. 

“Chiedozie has been terrific, and it was a period in the game where we felt Chiedozie could have a really good impact. Obviously Michael hasn’t played in the last few weeks so to play an hour, he did fine. But we felt Chiedozie would give us a good impact. He initially did, but we didn’t get the service to him after that.” 

Ireland’s Nations League campaign ends with a home against Armenia on Tuesday night, a game in which Ireland must avoid defeat to secure their status in League B. Before the draw was made, Kenny said he aimed to top the group, but wasn’t drawn into any summaries of the whole campaign in the aftermath of the loss to Scotland. 

“We have Tuesday’s game against Armenia, and we have to make sure we are ready for it. We have to earn the right to win that game. Ukraine and Scotland are very strong. It is a tough group. We would have wanted more points than we have, we are not denying that.” 

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