A look at the lessons we can take from tonight's draw against Denmark.
Mick McCarthy made no secret of the fact a draw in Copenhagen would suit the Republic of Ireland manager just fine prior to kick-off.
Equally, McCarthy would have bitten off your hand to be top of the Group D standings after three games and with Gibraltar set to visit the Aviva Stadium.
As expected, Denmark created the better chances and deserved their lead. There was more of an urgency about Age Hareide side’s play which made for a much better spectacle than the three previous 0-0 draws between the nations.
True, Ireland rode their luck at times but adopting a less agricultural approach has benefitted both manager and players in an Irish setup looking ahead to the remainder of their campaign with confidence rather than dread.
Mick McCarthy’s time in charge will most likely be defined by the outcome of two Swiss qualifiers sandwiched either side of October’s trip to Georgia. Gaining a point in Denmark has kept our qualification hopes alive.
For now, Irish football is in a much healthier place than twelve months ago and with a realistic chance of qualifying for Euro 2020. Mick McCarthy deserves credit for that turnaround.
It is not that long ago Darren Randolph was picking the ball out of the net after Christian Eriksen completed a hat-trick in a 5-1 rout of Ireland.
Tottenham Hotpsur’s wantaway midfielder reminded potential suitors of his dead ball delivery and passing range following another positive showing in Danish colours.
Flanked by Lasse Schone and Thomas Delaney, Christian Eriksen remains his country’s most creative attacking outlet and benefits from the work rate and unselfish efforts of his midfield partners.
Age Hareide’s 4-3-1-2 formation has Erisken at its epicentre but, as the game wore on, Ireland’s midfield five managed to successfully suffocate the space around Denmark’s number ten and curb the Spurs midfielder’s influence.
Ireland’s best hope of recording a positive result in Copenhagen rested with keeping Christian Eriksen quiet.
Anchored by Glen Whelan, that particular goal was achieved and helped deliver a precious point.
His equalising goal aside, Shane Duffy was already the Republic of Ireland’s best player during a difficult away assignment.
The Brighton and Hove Albion central defender excelled under Chris Hughton’s stewardship and carried his club form on to the international stage over the past twelve months.
Forming an effective partnership alongside Richard Keogh, Duffy helped repel a succession of Danish attacks on a night the Irish back four were solid rather than spectacular.
Denmark were guilty of wasteful finishing at times but Ireland’s ability to hurry their opponents attempts and continually force the home side wide were crucial to the qualifier’s eventual outcome.
Shane Duffy along with Darren Randolph have become the first names on Mick McCarthy’s teamsheet and the former looks set to become his country’s most important player in the remaining fixtures.