Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has not shied away from the enormity of this weekend's Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland, saying: “It's important for the nation.”
The Republic of Ireland go into the Group D clash in fourth place, two points behind the Scots in the play-off spot at the midway stage of the qualification campaign. Victory would see the Boys in Green leapfrog Gordon Strachan's side in the table heading into the home stretch of the race to reach France 2016.
However, defeat would be a huge body blow at this point, with a home tie with Germany and an away trip to Poland on the final day among Ireland's four remaining games. After two friendly games and two weeks of build-up during which everybody has been speculating on tactics and team selection, O'Neill has now made it clear that he is sending out a side to take all three points and nothing else.
“I don't really know the approach of Scotland, but I know what our approach is – we're going to try and win the game,” O'Neill told media the pre-match press conference at the Raddison Hotel.
“That's very important. We're at X number of matches in the group, we're halfway through this now and we have games at home to try and take some advantage of, and that late goal against Poland [scored by Shane Long to give Ireland a 1-1 home draw back in March] funnily enough has still given us that big lift.”
Continue reading Martin O'Neill's pre-match thoughts on Extratime.ie.