Saturday 16 November 2019

Liam Kelly: The players' view

Glenn Whelan: On the game: We made it difficult for ourselves, going into a two-goal lead and then conceding a goal gave us a knock.

Eye off the ball? Yeah, I think we did. Maybe we got a bit too comfortable. We started slowing things down instead of going for a third. Their goal just before half-time gave us a kick up the backside. When we came out second half, they were on top.

Group picture: We only have to worry about ourselves. We said before tonight it was a massive game because these are the teams we have to beat.

First McGeady goal: You lot started saying a few things beforehand, and he delivered tonight. Hopefully, he can get a few more.

On Robbie Keane: He's the same. There were question marks over whether he should play because of his injury, but he scored again tonight. Over the last 10 years, he's been Ireland's top player and he keeps nicking goals. That's what all good strikers do.

James McCarthy

Enjoy it? Delighted, to be honest. It puts it (speculation) all to bed.

What did Trap say before you went on? Try and get in the hole, and try and get as close to Shane Long as possible.

Huge ovation: I didn't think I was going to get that. I really appreciated it. Fans were a different class. They really got behind us.

Stronger? I've been in the gym since I got injured, so I've filled out a wee bit.

Aiden McGeady

On the game: We made it edgy for ourselves, giving away a goal just before half-time, but thankfully we held on.

Shoot on sight: I'm just delighted it went in, as I felt as if I was never going to score for Ireland. Every game I'd pick up the programme and my name would be there with zero goals beside it.

I've never had a problem scoring goals -- but with Ireland I've just had a problem hitting the back of the net. Delighted to get off the mark. I was overcome with emotion when I scored and it was a great night overall for us.

Two early goals and didn't kick on from there? You've got to give Macedonia credit, they are a decent team. They made it hard for us. I don't think a lot of people knew much about them before they came here. They've a lot of decent individual players and they made it hard for us. They're comfortable on the ball and they could have even nicked a draw if it wasn't for Westie pulling off a great save, so we've a lot to thank him for as well.

Moscow life? It's good. I'm enjoying it. Not had any league games yet. The season's just started back and I'm still suspended. I've got my first league game when I go back next week.

On McCarthy's competitive debut: I think he was glad to get it out of the way. There was a lot of talk about him going back to Scotland for his international future and he said after the game he was delighted to get it out of the way. He was happy with the reception he got from the fans as well.

KeIren Westwood

Nerves? Obviously it's a great honour. I just went out to play my normal game and I did that. We let them back in with a sloppy goal and sort of made it nervy towards the end, but overall I thought we deserved it.

The booking, did he warn you beforehand? No. The ball was flat and I said that to the ballboy. He (ref) came running over. I tried to tell him but he didn't want to know. It must be some sort of record, 47 minutes!

Opposition keeper, what did you think of him? What do you mean?

(Reporter) You tell me!

As long as it goes in the goal for us then I don't care. In my eyes, (they were) two great goals because they've gone in the goal and it's a massive three points.

Shane Long

Head injury, where did he get you?

He got me in my ear and top of my head as well. Two stitches. I was a bit dizzy for a while. I didn't actually realise it was his foot until after the game. The last thing I'd expect when I jump for the ball is a foot in the head, but that's part of the game. I thought it was his elbow, to be honest.

Surprised he wasn't sent off?

Now I am. At the time I thought it was an elbow and I said 'it happens', but that's one of those clips that's going to be on YouTube for a while I'd say.

See it on TV?

Yeah, I saw it after the game.

Like De Jong World Cup challenge?

Well, it was higher again because I've jumped and he got his foot on the top of my head. Real Kung Fu stuff.

They were physical in defence?

I don't mind that. I give as good as I get, I think. Just delighted to get three points. I would have taken more stitches than that.

Irish Independent

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