Euro 2016: Ikechi Anya hails 'massive' point for Scotland

Ikechi Anya and Shaun Maloney celebrate Scotland's equaliser
Ikechi Anya and Shaun Maloney combined for Scotland's equaliser

Scotland winger Ikechi Anya thinks the point against Republic of Ireland will prove crucial to his side's hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2016 finals.

The 27-year-old set up Shaun Maloney's deflected second-half goal, which cancelled out Jon Walters' suspiciously offside opener in Dublin on Saturday.

"Four points from two games against Ireland is massive and the result was better for us," Anya told BBC Scotland.

They are third in Group D, three points behind Poland and two off Germany.

Victory would have seen the Republic go above Scotland in the table with four games remaining, and Anya added: "For the Irish not to get the three points and jump above us, it could prove to be a massive point.

"We've got Georgia next and then the big one against Germany at home and, if we can get a good return from those games, we'll be in a good position."

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Scotland's Maloney 'relief' at draw

Gordon Strachan had chosen Matt Ritchie ahead of Anya after the Bournemouth winger's winner a week earlier against Qatar.

But the Watford player, who was involved in the equaliser two minutes after replacing Ritchie at half-time, was happy to accept the manager's decision.

"We've got a talented squad and places are always up for grabs," he said.

"The goal is to qualify for France and, as much as I want to play, I need to be aware it is a team - and if it was my turn not to play then fine."

The Scotland equaliser has been called a John O'Shea own goal by some sports agencies, but Maloney is still hopeful he will get the official credit.

"At the time, it felt like my goal - fingers crossed," said the Chicago Fire midfielder.

"It means everything for me to play here and to see the ball going into the back of the net is very special.

"I just remember the one-two and it took a deflection. I am not overly worried - it was a big moment in the game and a bit of joy, a bit of relief rolled into one."

Russell Martin celebrates with the Scotland fans
Russell Martin was left with bloodied nose after an elbow in the face

Defender Russell Martin says he has moved on after he was caught in the face by Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy's elbow in the first half.

"I wasn't happy about it at the time, but he's said it was accidental, he's apologised and we move on," added the Norwich City defender.

"When he saw the referee with a card, he said he thought it might be a red."

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