Coleman: Draw felt like defeat
Published 14/06/2015 | 13:06
Seamus Coleman has admitted the Republic of Ireland must learn from their mistakes if they are to keep alive their hopes of making it to the Euro 2016 finals.
Coleman and his team-mates had to make do with a point from their Group D showdown with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening as they were caught with a sucker punch two minutes after the restart which handed the visitors a 1-1 draw they barely deserved.
To manager Martin O'Neill's horror, Scottish midfielder Shaun Maloney, who scored the only goal in the reverse fixture in Glasgow in November, was allowed to play a one-two on the edge of the penalty area and fire home an equaliser off luckless defender John O'Shea.
Asked what O'Neill's reaction had been in the dressing room afterwards, Everton full-back Coleman said: "Like everyone else, he's disappointed, as you can imagine, any manager's reaction straight after that.
"We were going to keep it tight and then we concede 45 seconds in, so we got a bit of a slap on the wrist for that, and rightly so.
"As professional players, that shouldn't be happening 45 seconds into the second half. We have to take that on the chin. You can do all the stuff on the training ground you want, but you can't really let that happen so early in the second half."
Maloney's early second-half strike cancelled out Jon Walters' 38th-minute opener which had given Ireland a deserved lead, and frontman Daryl Murphy was unable to cap a fine individual display with the goal his efforts deserved despite being presented with a series of passable opportunities.
The Republic were ultimately frustrated as a game they desperately needed to win - and probably should have won - ended all-square.
Coleman said: "To have all your hard work in the first half undone very, very early in the second half is massively disappointing, and it's hard to take. It feels like a defeat, to be honest.
"Obviously it's not a good start, conceding so early in the half - that was poor from our point of view - and then the normal reaction after conceding so early is that they are going to be on top for a little bit.
"But we did ride it out a little bit and Murph had a great chance, and it would have been great to make it 2-1. Robbie [Brady] played some great balls into the box a few times and we peppered their goal, and they just got that little bit of luck that we didn't.
"The amount of balls we put into the box, a little deflection would have suited us, but unfortunately they got it."
Ireland head into September's double-header against Gibraltar and Georgia knowing their qualification hopes have been dealt a significant blow, but one which in Coleman's eyes at least, is not yet fatal.
He said: "We're still two points behind Scotland, but we were very disappointed in there. But Scotland have a couple of tough games coming up, we have tough games coming up - we have just got to look at the next game.
"We'll look forward to September and try to win them. I know they are cliched answers you are getting from me, but we can't give up on this group and I think we are still in it.
"Obviously three points would have been a lot better than one. A lot of people said it was must-win, but we won't give up hope just yet."