Scotland 1-0 Rep of Ireland: Martin O'Neill laments late Irish lapse

Martin O'Neill is about to grab the ball off Gordon Strachan during Friday's game
Martin O'Neill's Republic suffered their first defeat in Group D by Gordon Strachan's Scotland

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill said a defensive lapse gifted Scotland victory but insisted his team's Euro 2016 hopes remain alive.

O'Neill felt the Republic had coped well before Shaun Maloney curled in his 75th-minute winner after a corner.

"We're disappointed with the result but we're not out of this," O'Neill said.

The defeat means Scotland and Germany move level with the Irish on seven points after four games, with Poland three points clear of the trio.

O'Neill added: "We got seven points on the board. Scotland still have to travel to us and we've got four out of the next five games at our place.

"As I said before, regardless of the result tonight, everything will depend on 2015."

Rep of Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
29 March 2015: Poland (h)
13 June: Scotland (h)
4 September: Gibraltar (a)
7 September: Georgia (h)
8 October: Germany (h)
11 October: Poland (a)

Maloney's superb finish, after he worked a short corner with Ikechi Anya and played a one-two with Scott Brown, was one of the few moments of quality in a contest played at a frantic pace.

However, O'Neill was left frustrated by his team's failure to close down the Scots duo in the game's decisive moment.

"It wasn't a case where they acted very quickly. There was three, four, five or six seconds there and we should have seen the danger," he added.

The Scots had 58% of the possession and created more chances, but John O'Shea nodded against the Scottish crossbar in injury-time and O'Neill felt a draw would not have flattered his team.

"I honestly think if we had scored that goal, we would have deserved to have got it.

"I didn't think Scotland created a great deal in the game. Of course the onus is on them to attack as the home side. I always felt we were in the game.

John O'Shea disappointed by Republic defeat against Scotland

"I thought when the goal came, it was a moment when we were under a little bit of pressure but not unduly."

Republic winger and native Scot Aiden McGeady was booed by home fans throughout, although he did force a good save out of David Marshall in the second half.

"I think Aiden, like a number of players, for the sort of form he has shown recently, would have been a bit frustrated," added the Republic boss.

O'Neill added that he had opted to leave captain and record goalscorer Robbie Keane on the bench until his 78th-minute introduction "for the good of the team".

"Robbie accepted it because we were playing away from home and we wanted to stretch them, and Shane Long can do that."

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