Saturday 3 December 2016

John Giles verdict: Ireland scrapped better than Scotland - You cannot question Irish spirit

Published 13/06/2015 | 20:13

Wes Hoolahan in action against Matt Ritchie of Scotland.
Wes Hoolahan in action against Matt Ritchie of Scotland.

John Giles praised Ireland's fighting spirit in the 1-1 draw with Scotland but admits the chances of Irish qualification for Euro 2016 are now slim.

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An inability to hold the lead for longer than 10 minutes, after Jon Walters had put Ireland in front seven minutes before half time, cost dearly as a John O'Shea own goal a minute after the restart earned Scotland the point and keeps the Scots in the hunt.

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

Giles, who was not part of the RTE panel today and watched the game from Birmingham, said that while the team spirit cannot be called into question, it was another frustrating performance.

"It was a disappointing result, no question," he told Independent.ie. "The team started well and played with plenty of spirit, they were the better team in the first half. They lost the goal at a bad time in the second half.

"They played with plenty of spirit and were the better team for long periods.

"The match was scrappy generally, Ireland scrapped better than Scotland scrapped for most of the game and you couldn't doubt the Irish spirit in any way whatsoever."

Read more: Vincent Hogan: After predictable draw, road to France remains heavily mined

Giles conceded that neither team looked like scoring after Maloney's equaliser and felt the predicted midfield battle failed to live up to expectations.

"We didn't dominate, but neither team dominated in the middle of the pitch. We certainly didn't dominate with Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy there and Wes Hoolahan was the best of our midfield players and the most likely to create something."

Hull City's Robbie Brady picked up his second man-of-the-match award ion less than a week and the former Ireland international and manager felt the make-shift full-back was fully deserving of the accolade.

"Robbie Brady got the award and I wouldn't argue with that. He did well, got plenty of room down the left-hand side, put a lot of good crosses into the box. I thought he did particularly well."

Read more: Player ratings - Who were Ireland's best performers against Scotland?

Three points from the four group games against Germany, Poland and Scotland is a very poor haul for an Ireland side who had real ambitions of qualification before this group started. Now the only way that Ireland can get back into contention now is for one of the top three to collapse in the autumn qualifiers, something that's unlikely to happen as Scotland and Poland in particular have looked steady throughout.

The result leaves O'Neill's side  sitting in fourth place, five points behind table-toppers and Giles says Ireland are now very much up against it to secure qualification.

"It leaves us with a lot to do.

"We're not out of it entirely yet, still possibilities with big matches to come up, but it makes it very difficult."

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

As with the reverse fixture against Scotland in November, Giles was reduced to a spectator as Richie Sadlier replaced the Leeds United legend on the RTE panel and watched events unfold at an Irish Centre in Birmingham.

"It was okay, I watched it anyway," he joked.

"They had a little room for us so it was good. They get the Irish coverage and there was a good crowd in there. There are plenty of Irish people in Birmingham.

Did he keep a close eye on the pre and post-match analysis from his RTE colleagues?

"I listened to them before and after," he admitted. "The lads always do well."

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