Thursday 29 September 2016

Brady experiment working and miracles required – Five things we learned from Scotland draw

Published 13/06/2015 | 19:14

Scotland's Shaun Maloney and Ireland's Seamus Coleman (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium
Scotland's Shaun Maloney and Ireland's Seamus Coleman (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill reacts to a missed chance late in the game.

Here is what we learned from the disappointing 1-1 draw with Scotland at the Aviva Stadium.

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We need a miracle to make France

Scotland celebrated at the final whistle because they knew this result was of greater use to their French ambitions. Ireland cannot expect to qualify for major tournaments unless they can beat their main rivals at home and a two point return from the visits of Poland and the Scots means that fortune and favours will be required to even make the playoffs.

Put simply, Ireland need one of those teams to collapse in September. The most plausible route - and it remains a long shot - is Scotland dropping points in Georgia and then flopping against Germany and the Poles.

They will beat Gibraltar on the last day; if they take two points from the other three matches then eight points from Ireland’s final four encounters will be enough to creep in ahead of Gordon Strachan’s charges.

Ireland always go back to basics

Wes Hoolahan offered glimpses of invention and creativity, especially with his break and threaded through ball for Daryl Murphy immediately after Scotland’s equaliser.

However, when it came to the crunch, the Irish tactic was to get as many crosses in the box as possible and hope for the best with Murphy, Walters and then Shane Long hoping to get on the end of them or flick the ball in the direction of Robbie Keane. By the end it was laboured and predictable, with the visiting rearguard capable of dealing with every missile.

Scotland's Shaun Maloney celebrates scoring his side's equalising goal.
Scotland's Shaun Maloney celebrates scoring his side's equalising goal.
Shay Given looks on as Scotland's Shaun Maloney scores his side's equalising goal.
13 June 2015; Shaun Maloney, Scotland, shoots to score his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Rod Stewart watches the action during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin Niall Carson/PA Wire
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland players celebrate after Jonathan Walters scored his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland players celebrate after Jonathan Walters scored his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Robbie Brady, Republic of Ireland, in action against Matt Ritchie, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Scotland's Russell Martin and Ireland's John Walters battle for the ballduring the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.
Scotland's Shaun Maloney and Ireland's Seamus Coleman (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium
Football - Republic of Ireland v Scotland - UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - 13/6/15 Republic of Ireland fan before the game Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland team stand for a team picture ahead of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
13 June 2015; Preparation of the carpet and signage before the start of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland supporters cheer on their side during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland fans show their support during the national anthems. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Wes Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Matt Ritchie, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
13 June 2015; The two teams stand for the national anthems. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland supporters singing 'Flower of Scotland' at the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
13 June 2015; The two teams stand for the national anthems before the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; The Republic of Ireland team observe a minute's applause before the start of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Ireland supporters during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Wes Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Matt Ritchie, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
Scotland's Russell Martin and Ireland's John Walters battle for the ballduring the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson /PA Wire.
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland players line up prior to kick-off during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Scotland's James Morrison (left) and Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman in action during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan (left) challenges Scotland's Matt Ritchie during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
A Scotland fan shows his support during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; The Republic of Ireland team before the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A minute's appluase before the start of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Seamus Coleman, Republic of Ireland, in action against James Morrison, left, and Scott Brown, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland defence clock a shot by Steven Naismith, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland, is spoken to by referee Nicola Rizzoli after a clash with Scott Brown, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Craig Forsyth, Scotland, in action against Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; David Marshall, Scotland, in action against Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; The Scotland team before the match. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, in action against Craig Forsyth, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland's James McCarthy closes his eyes during the National Anthem. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill ahead of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Scotland's Russell Martin (left) and Ireland's Robbie Brady during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Scotland's Russell Martin (centre) points at Ireland's Robbie Brady during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland's James McCarthy is shown a yellow card for a challenge on Scotland's Russell Martin during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Scotland's Russell Martin with a bloody nose after a challenge by Republic of Ireland's James McCarthy during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Scotland fans in the stands during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Scotland's Shaun Maloney and Ireland's Seamus Coleman (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Scotland's Russell Martin and Ireland's John Walters battle for the ballduring the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Scotland's Alan Hutton (left) and Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan in action during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
FAI chief executive John Delaney (right) with partner Emma English in the stands during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Nick Potts/PA Wire
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, during an altercation with Scott Brown, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, in action against Craig Forsyth, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland supporters cheer on their side during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Pictured is Seán Hickey, aged 8, from Ratoath, Co. Meath, during the pre-match ceremony. Seán won a McDonald’s Future Football competition to become a flag bearer for the crucial Ireland v Scotland European Championship Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Pictured is Taylor Lombard, aged 11, from Ardsallagh, Co.Waterford, during the pre-match ceremony. Taylor won a McDonald’s Future Football competition to become a flag bearer for the crucial Ireland v Scotland European Championship Qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, shoots to score his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Alan Hutton, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Wes Hoolahan, Republic of Ireland, in action against Alan Hutton, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland players celebrate their equalising goal scored by Shaun Maloney, second left. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland supporters cheer after their side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Shay Given, Republic of Ireland goalkeeper looks on as Scotland's Shaun Maloney scores his side's equalising goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill reacts to the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Alan Hutton, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, peals away to celebrate his side's opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Charlie Mulgrew, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, right, celebrates scoring his side's opening goal of the game with teammates. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Marc Wilson, Republic of Ireland, celebrates his teammate Jonathan Walters' opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A Republic of Ireland supporter reacts to chants for his side. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A Scotland fan reacts to the Republic of Ireland goal during he first half. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland supporters cheer on their side during the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A general view of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; A general view of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland,goes up for a high ball with Charlie Mulgrew, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Jonathon Walters, Republic of Ireland, in action against James Morrison, Scotland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall tips a looping header over the bar. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Republic of Ireland players celebrate their side's opening goal of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; The two goalscorers Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, and Shaun Maloney, Scotland, vie for the ball. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Hoolahan’s withdrawal with 18 minutes remaining was baffling. Scotland knew exactly what was coming next.

Martin O’Neill doesn’t trust Shane Long

The Tipp lad was given the call for last November’s loss in Glasgow and, clearly, an ineffective display planted a seed of doubt with O’Neill even though he was the hero in March with his late cameo against the Poles.

Long was unhappy to miss out on a start against England last week and didn’t look himself when he was sprung at the break. It was enough to consign him to a spectating brief for 79 minutes here.

The 28-year-old had his problems with Giovanni Trapattoni and the outlook doesn’t look any better in this regime.

13 June 2015; Scotland supporters pose for a picture with Sergent Neil Randles, from Pearce Street Garda station ahead of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
13 June 2015; Scotland supporters pose for a picture with Sergent Neil Randles, from Pearce Street Garda station ahead of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland supporters Jennifer, Michael and Jack Fisher, from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, ahead the game.

O’Neill still doesn’t know what his best side is

A pattern appeared to be developing in the build-up to this crucial fixture, yet there was still a surprise as O’Neill abandoned wingers and went with a narrow set-up in midfield that was high on physicality and quite effective for most of the first half.

Unfortunately, it ran out of steam quickly when Scotland levelled things and the substitutions failed to work the oracle with the arrival of McClean offering width on one side - but Ireland ended up looking quite scattered and there was an absence of fluidity.

Nineteen months after his appointment, we still don’t know what to expect when the Derryman puts in his team sheet.

The Brady experiment at left back is a good one

When O’Neill assumed control, left back was a problem position. With Marc Wilson part of his central defensive vision, his only option was Stephen Ward - a player who has endured a difficult run at club level and barely played any football this term.

In Robbie Brady, he has found a solution despite some growing pains in the March draw with Poland. Now that it’s out of the system, the talented Dubliner is adjusting to the responsibilities that come with the role and the fact that he’s on the pitch to offer set piece prowess is a major bonus.

His emergence is one of the few positives from 2015.

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