Euro 2016: Irish win over Scotland vital, says Robbie Brady

Robbie Brady challenges England's Andros Townsend
Robbie Brady was praised against England
Euro 2016 qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Scotland
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday 13 June Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland, live text on BBC Sport website

Robbie Brady says Saturday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland is crucial in the Republic of Ireland's campaign.

The Irish - who drew 0-0 on Sunday in a friendly with England - are two points behind third-placed Scotland in Group D and a defeat would leave them adrift.

"Definitely it's a massive game," said the 23-year-old Hull City winger, who played at left-back against England.

"We will be all looking forward to it. It's no-holds-barred. We will be looking to impress."

Ireland"s Robbie Keane and Poland"s Pawel Olkowski
Robbie Keane (left) is likely to be back to lead the Irish front line in Dublin

Brady, who kept Scotland's Andrew Robertson out the Hull side at the end of the season, started at the back in March's 1-1 qualifying draw with Group D leaders Poland and did so again on Sunday.

He is competing with specialist Stephen Ward, who missed much of the second half of Burnley's season through injury - for a place in the team.

However, he said the advice he has received from boss Martin O'Neill and his coaches has been supplemented by the experience of his team-mates.

"With John O'Shea, Marc Wilson and Paul McShane, it makes it a lot easier when you have them talking to you all game, so it's been a big help," he said.

O'Neill remains hopeful his team can beat Gordon Strachan's Scots and emerge from a tough group.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the finals in France, while the best third place team also go through with the other eight entering play-offs.

"If you were speaking to Gordon, I think we find ourselves in a pretty difficult group," O'Neill said.

"We are in with the world champions, who would be expected to go and win the group, then it seemed as if it was going to be a real scramble for second place.

"Poland are very, very strong and Scotland, there seems to be a renaissance there.

Group D as it stands

"It's been difficult - but nothing is impossible yet and there's a distance to go. We are only halfway through the group."

Ireland lost by the only goal in the reverse fixture in Glasgow in November and the draw with England again suggested a lack of striking power.

Captain Robbie Keane arrived in Dublin on Monday afternoon after playing 90 minutes for the Los Angeles Galaxy in their 1-0 home defeat by Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday and the 34-year-old is likely to again lead the Irish challenge.

"It's been an ongoing problem for a long time, hence the importance of Robbie Keane over the years, who you would have to say has been the most natural scorer that we have possessed," said O'Neill.

"It's not just a problem peculiar to ourselves. Other nations suffer from it."

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