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14th Jun 2015

How the UK media reacted to Ireland v Scotland

All in agreement over the ref


Andrew Smith – The Scotsman 

There was certainly an English Championship flavour to the proceedings across the two teams. The more uncharitable would extend that to the quality of the football likely to be produced in a British-style derby.

It was frantic, it was all-too-lacking in finesse and, even with the arrival of Keane for the closing stages, the encounter was free of anyone to provide a finishing touch. There is a reason why these teams remain third and fourth in Group D.

Ewan Murray – The Guardian

The identity of Ireland’s centre-forward was partly immaterial; it seemed the approach would always be to hit the front as quickly as possible.

And yet, during the opening stages, Ireland’s overall play was vastly superior to their opponents’. The hosts were sharper, slicker and more menacing. When the opening goal arrived it was on account of dreadful officiating but nobody could reasonably argue O’Neill’s men did not merit their advantage. They were, that said, lucky to have 11 men at their disposal after James McCarthy’s elbow to the face of Russell Martin.

The subsequent introduction of Keane and Long illustrated O’Neill’s desperation for victory, if there had been any doubt over such an attitude. Ireland huffed, puffed but could not avoid the frustration that stopped being a novel feeling for their manager long ago.

Barney Ronay – The Guardian

There was no shortage of Irish effort in a full-throated, bruising qualifier, interrupted now and then by unexpected outbreaks of neat passing football. Scotland’s greater control in possession, helped by the decisive introduction of Ikechi Anya at half-time, is probably a fair reflection of the balance of power between the two teams. Towards the end, despite a spattering of half-chances, Ireland were a bludgeon when what was required was a razor edge.

Billy Dodds – Scotland Herald

We saw at Celtic that Martin O’Neill likes strong, physical players when you think back to guys like Joos Valgaeren, Johan Mjallby, Bobo Balde, John Hartson and Chris Sutton.

His Ireland team is like that too, with Daryl Murphy and Jon Walters preferred to Robbie Keane in attack as they possess more of an aerial threat, while the midfield was full of hard-working types too.

They were always going to try to use their physical strength and height to bombard us and we had to graft hard to match that. I thought that if we could get through the first five to 10 minutes we would settle down after that and that’s what happened.

The Sunday Express

Italian whistler Nicola Rizzoli is rated one of the best in the business by UEFA – a worrying thought after this abject display.

To only book James McCarthy for an elbow on Russell Martin which left the defender needing treatment for a head gash showed a lack of bottle. For him and the five other match officials to miss a glaring offside at the Irish goal in 38 minutes was just embarrassing.

Gary Ralston – The Daily Record

Ireland pocketed five million euros from FIFA for Thierry Henry’s handball that knocked them out of the World Cup in South Africa five years ago.

This time, they enjoyed a huge slice of luck with a controversial first half opener from Stoke striker Jonathan Walters that was a yard offside.

Not even the introduction of record scorer Robbie Keane could turn the match in favour of the Irish as the Scotland defence coped comfortably with the pressure from Martin O’Neill’s side

Roddy Forsyth – The Telegraph

O’Neill’s decision to prefer Daryl Murphy rather than Shane Long was proving increasingly troublesome for Scotland, who struggled to deal with Wes Hoolihan’s work in the pockets of space around the striker.

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