Tuesday 20 March 2018

Coleman eyes Scotland scalp

Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman, left, is gunning for Scotland
Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman, left, is gunning for Scotland

Seamus Coleman is gunning for Scotland as the Republic of Ireland attempt to re-ignite their bid for Euro 2016 qualification.

Martin O'Neill's men warmed up for their Group D showdown with the Scots on Saturday with a 0-0 draw against England at the Aviva Stadium, a game which passed off without trouble, but failed to hit the heights.

But if it was pride at stake on Sunday, it will be vital points next weekend with Ireland needing to gain revenge for their 1-0 defeat in Glasgow in November if they are to drag themselves firmly back into the race for automatic qualification.

Coleman said: "Look, every time you play for your country, there's pressure. You are representing your team-mates and your family.

"But I would say the Scotland game means a bit more than maybe other internationals because it's so important to the group and how we fare, so we are going out there to win it."

Coleman was one of Ireland's better players on a day when they more than held their own against England, who turned in a toothless display in Dublin.

Indeed, had it not been for goalkeeper Joe Hart, who pulled off second-half saves from Robbie Brady and substitute Jon Walters, they might have left on the wrong end of the scoreline.

The Everton full-back said: "We kept a clean sheet - first and foremost as a defender, that's your job, so we're happy with the clean sheet.

"Then I thought a few of the lads had a couple of chances. We weren't just defending the full game, the lads had a few chances and we could have won the game, but it wasn't to be.

"They [England] are full of top players, but I thought we defended well. But it wasn't just them creating chances, we had a few good chances in the first half and we put them under a bit of pressure.

"We had a good work-out there, boys got minutes and we have got a good week now going forward to what is the main reason we are here this week, which is the Scotland game."

The game, which was the first between the sides in the city since rioting England fans forced the abandonment of their last meeting in February 1995, passed off largely without incident inside the stadium, although winger Raheem Sterling was booed by a section of the home crowd every time he touched the ball.

Coleman, who played against England at Wembley in May 2013, said: "Our Irish lads went over two years ago, the Irish fans, and behaved brilliantly and from what I could see, the English lads were fine as well.

"There was a bit of banter, as you get at football matches, but I'm happy it went well and everyone is going home safely."

Press Association

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