ROY Keane admits that Scotland have generated ‘momentum’, but the Republic of Ireland assistant manager insists his team can relaunch their European Championships 2016 qualification bid tomorrow.
“At the moment, the feel good factor seems to be with them,” Keane acknowledges. “They’ve got a lot of momentum and they’re getting a lot of plaudits. But when you look at the [Celtic Park] game there wasn’t much between us.
“Obviously Scotland are coming here in good spirits. We need to make sure they’re leaving Dublin in bad spirits.”
Last November Scotland shaded a tight battle at Parkhead, but Keane is adamant Ireland can make an impact at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
“I don’t think there’s much between the two teams,” Keane commented. “You look at the profiles of the players, the squads. I’d just hope on the day that home advantage would help, and we show a little bit of quality; we’ve obviously got one or two players that weren’t the last game. A bit of luck would be nice and to get the right result.
“But we’ve got a good mix. We have experienced players. You mentioned Robbie (Keane), but John O’Shea, Shay Given, vast experience right there, Glenn Whelan these boys know the score.
“We’re not daft, we know what’s at stake, but we’re ready for it. Pressure is part of the game. These are the games you look forward to. We had a couple of friendlies last week with the North and England and that’s all well and good, decent games for us, but that was like the foreplay. The action starts on Saturday.”
Robbie Keane missed the England friendly due to club commitments with LA Galaxy, but is available for selection.
“Robbie’s fine,” Keane said. “He’s trained the last one or two days. He got through a full game, but I think it was his first 90 minutes in two months which is . . . listen, it’s not easy for a player who’s very rarely injured.
“The way Robbie’s trained over the last one or two days has been fine. The big issue is match fitness. It’s up for the manager to decide that one.”
Keane is looking forward to the contest. “I don’t think there was much in the game up in Glasgow, but enough in the fact that we lost the game.
“Obviously, concentration levels have to be at their best. Gordon is an experienced manager, but Martin O’Neill is pretty experienced, you know. I think it’s pretty close all round. I’m comfortable going into a game with Martin O’Neill as the manager as well.”