ALL the reaction and analysis from Scotland’s vital 1-0 win against the Republic of Ireland and the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Gordon Strachan last night handed the credit for Scotland’s crucial Euro 2016 victory over Republic of Ireland to his coach Stuart McCall.
Shaun Maloney scored the only goal of a tempestuous contest at Celtic Park to allow the Scots to leapfrog their Irish rivals into third place in Group D, just three points behind leaders Poland who won 4-0 in Georgia earlier in the day. The matchwinner came from an elaborate corner routine involving Maloney, Ikechi Anya and Scott Brown which Strachan revealed was devised on the training pitch by former Motherwell manager McCall.
“We are just fortunate Stuart McCall came away with that set play,” said the Scotland manager. “It was a Stuart McCall goal. It was a variation of one of his set play routines and it was always going to be that type.”
Shaun Maloney revealed his outstanding winning goal for Scotland against the Republic of Ireland was the result of a well-worked training ground move. Maloney curled in a fine shot from an angle in the 75th minute to give Scotland a 1-0 win at Celtic Park.
Scotland took a short corner which culminated in Scott Brown back-heeling the ball into Maloney’s path, and his shot brushed the inside of the far post on its way in.
“On those occasions, you try to pick a spot,” Maloney said on Sky Sports 5. “You do it hundreds of time in training and thankfully this time it’s in the net.
“(Brown) has seen me brilliantly. It was sort of worked out on the training ground. I’m not sure it was fully like that, but it worked and it’s brilliant to get the win.” (Scotsman)
Scott Brown: Ireland tried to stop us playing football
Scotland captain Scott Brown yesterday said that the Republic of Ireland came to Hampden to stop Gordon Strachan’s side from playing football - but their gameplan failed as the Irish slumped to a 1-0 defeat in a bad-tempered game.
Despite numerous late challenges and several Ireland players sailing close to the wind on yellow cards, both sides finished with 11 men.
Brown, who remarked that Scotland “definitely” deserved to win, said: “I think Ireland’s gameplan was to try and stop us playing football. But it didn’t work. We still managed to get the ball down in tight situations and knock nice little one-twos and create chances. Were Ireland lucky to finish with 11 men? I don’t know. There were a few rough tackles but I didn’t get a good eye on them.” (The Sun)
SCOTLAND REACTION AND ANALYSIS
“For all that theirs was the more sophisticated football, there was a genuine fear that Scotland had come up against an immovable force in Martin O’Neill’s team. It required a moment of inspiration by Shaun Maloney, who, 30 years to the night after Kenny Dalglish’s famous strike against Spain, conjured up a sumptuous curling shot that deserved its place in the pantheon of great Scottish goals.” READ MORE >>
“Such had been the fuss and bother over nationality in the build-up to this match that you half-expected the players to take the field at Celtic Park armed with passports, birth certificates, family photo-albums, keepsakes from the homeland and their grannies, each carrying a plateful of scones baking according to Scottish or Irish tradition. But finally at 7:45pm last night, after an exhausting week during which anyone and everyone and George Galloway has been pressed for their views on the issue, the Glasgow East End version of that popular TV genealogy show – which you’d have to call Who the F**k Do You Think You Are Bytheway? – could draw to a close and the football could begin.” READ MORE >>
Matthew Kennedy wants to payback fans for pen miss
Matthew Kennedy yesterday relived the agony of his part in Hibs’ agonising League Cup defeat – but pledged to reward the fans who gave him and his team-mates a standing ovation at the end of their pulsating penalty shoot-out against Dundee United. Kennedy, who scored a late equaliser but then saw his spot-kick saved in the shoot-out, said: “I’ve always been full of confidence since I came because I’ve not played badly since I came here. But it still helps your confidence when you come off the bench, play well, go by your defender most times and score a goal. I was buzzing after scoring the goal and then, after I missed the penalty, my head was gone.” (Scotsman)
Darren McGregor: Rangers out to slash Hearts lead
Hibs fan Darren McGregor has praised Hearts for their super start to the season – but the Rangers defender wants to test their resolve by cutting their Championship lead to just one point before the Tynecastle side go into action at Falkirk this evening. The two sides then meet at Tynecastle next Saturday in what promises to be a mouth-watering contest. He said: “For me, this Alloa game is just as big as Hearts next week. We need to take three points and apply pressure. Obviously, with Hearts kicking off after us, it gives us a chance to do that.
“People will tell you they don’t look at papers or their closest contenders but the first thing you do after a game is look to see how your opposition have done. Hearts will be no different.” (Scotsman)