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Niall Quinn: O'Neill will put fire in their bellies

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Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn

SPORTSFILE

Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn has hailed the impact that Martin O'Neill has had on Ireland since taking over and he insists that the manager holds the key to picking up what would be a priceless victory in Glasgow this evening.

O'Neill will bring his Irish team to Celtic Park, a stadium where he spent five years as Celtic manager, and Quinn believes that he will instil the belief in his players that they can pick up all three points.

"Martin demands that his players handle the occasion, he doesn't hope that they do," Quinn said.

"He puts such fire into their bellies and he also makes us believe that the players are going to handle it. And that's the big difference.

"Under Trapattoni, there was absolutely no inspiration at all. From the outside looking in, you were waiting for it to go wrong but this is different.

"Before, you could pick the starting XI and the way they would play and hope against all hope that they would get through difficult situations. Nobody was inspired by it but there's an edge to everything Ireland have done since Martin came in.

"He's a master in those tense moments, 10 to 15-minutes before the game, that's when Martin will be at his best. He'll light the fuse brilliantly and that's when I'll feel good about our chances," he added.

Quinn maintained that the team "who handle the occasion better will be the one who avoid what would be a crushing defeat", while he also backed Aiden McGeady to silence the boo-boys.

"Aiden is in great form. Since he's come back to the Premier League, he's rejuvenated and the goal against Georgia was a big help to that.

"Martin was the manager who really made him at the start of his career and you can see he just loves playing for him. He will be crucial to Ireland's hopes."

Irish Independent