Each to their own — Test was anything but meaningless friendly

Martin O’Neill wasn’t the only one to rein in his enthusiasm when the Nations League was thrust upon us this year but he paid a bigger price for his indifference to it than most.

There was always the sense that the now former Republic of Ireland manager never quite grasped the true value of Uefa’s prized new project.

“The bigger picture is the Euro qualifiers,” O’Neill said as recently as last Saturday, seemingly unaware that words like ‘relegation’ don’t tend to go down too well with the people signing the cheques, regardless of context.

It was an error in judgment that contributed to the Derry man departing his post, but, to be fair, he was far from alone this week in confusing what exactly constitutes a competitive fixture and what we can safely say is a ‘friendly’.

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