Euro 2016: Republic of Ireland's Hendrick and Walters lauded

Jon Walters pokes in the Republic of Ireland's winner against Georgia after brilliant work by Jeff Hendrick
Jon Walters notched Ireland's winner in the 69th minute

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill praised Jeff Hendrick and Jon Walters after they helped set up a vital 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifier win over Georgia.

Hendrick's superb run teed up Walters to score on 69 minutes as the Irish strengthened their hold on third place in Group D.

"Jeff was absolutely magnificent. He has that ability and it was great to see Walters scoring," said O'Neill.

"We didn't play well in the first half but then there was a great turnaround."

With Scotland losing 3-2 at home to Germany, the Republic are now four points ahead of Gordon Strachan's side with two rounds of fixtures remaining next month.

Jon Walters celebrates scoring for the Republic of Ireland

The Republic host leaders Germany and visit second-placed Poland, while Scotland welcome the Poles before visiting Gibraltar in their final game.

The third-placed team with the best qualifying record from the nine groups qualifies automatically for next summer's tournament in France, with the other eight facing a two-legged play-off.

O'Neill says his side will "have a go" as they aim to at least secure a play-off spot.

"We need to find a win in two matches," he said. "We'll have to play better for the whole game.

"Germany, with respect, are not only the best team in the group, they are world champions, and I'd say at this minute, possibly even the best side in Europe, so we will have to naturally do better for 90 minutes in the game."

O'Neill was delighted by his team's second-half endeavour.

"We found a way to win the second half," he said. "We were very tentative in the first half - I'm not sure why we should be.

Euro 2016 Qualifying Group D

"The players came on very, very strongly in the second half and we deserved to get the goal and we deserved to win the game."

O'Neill praised Derby midfielder Hendrick, who jinked past three challenges before squaring for Stoke forward Walters to notch his seventh international goal.

"It was a great, great run and to keep a little bit of composure as well with the final ball coming in that somebody is going to come in on top of that as Jonathan Walters did."

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