Irish assistant boss Roy Keane says that Robbie Keane won’t let his country down if he is selected against Scotland on Saturday but admitted that the veteran's lack of match practice is ‘not ideal.’
The Dubliner completed his first 90 minutes in two months for LA Galaxy before travelling to Ireland and his interrupted preparation means that he could be confined to the role of sub in the key Euro 2016 qualifier - similar to the first meeting in Glasgow.
Keane (34) has also had to cope with the tragic death of his cousin Alan Harris in an industrial accident in Portmarnock yesterday.
His namesake Roy did not wish to speak about that incident after this morning’s session in Malahide, merely stating that Ireland’s record goalscorer had ‘trained today, being the professional that he is.’
"I don't really know the ins and outs. But he has trained today, being the professional he is as you would expect, and as far as he's concerned he's focusing on the game," Roy said.
However, he dropped a strong hint that a shortage of match practice could count against the American based star when it comes to team selection.
“It’s not ideal with the match time he’s had,” said the Corkman. “Robbie has trained and his fitness is fine but he’s lacking match fitness and there’s not much we can do about that.
“I think there are a lot of key decisions to be made but that's what we're here for and what the manager is paid for.
“People keep talking the game up and it's a big game and we know that. Martin (O’Neill) is experienced and hopefully we pick the right starting XI. There are lots of things to look at, who is carrying injuries, Robbie lacking match sharpness, but it's about making the right decisions.”
The high profile number two disputed a question which suggested that the Irish captain was ‘dropped’ for the defeat in Celtic Park.
“I wouldn’t say dropped, I wouldn’t use that word,” he stressed, “It’s horses for courses and you play certain players on certain days. I wouldn’t say he was dropped.
“I think if Robbie starts he won’t let us down. Whoever starts the game won’t let us down as we have good competiton. Daryl Murphy is doing well, David McGoldrick, Shane Long. There are options and we’ll see in the next 24 hours if there’s a reaction for Robbie. Today was a bit more intense for him and the manager has a decision to make. If Robbie plays, like he has always done 100 odd times, he won’t let us down.”