By Grainne McGuinness and Shaun Cronin
Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane was hugely disappointed with last night’s loss to Scotland in Celtic Park, but refused to put the blame on Martin O’Neill’s selection decisions.
The 1-nil loss put a severe dent in Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and inevitably there were questions after the game about the wisdom of leaving Keane out of the starting 11.
The LA Galaxy star initially brushed off questions about his position on the bench, saying: “speak about the game”, but he then backed O’Neill’s decision.
”If the manager wants to play one up front, I’m not f*****g Niall Quinn, I’m not Shane Long,” said Keane. “They’re better at that than I am.”
“The manager made a decision and you have to respect that, playing one up front doesn't suit me. It’s not my game.”
Keane played in Old Firm matches while with Celtic in 2010 and felt last night’s game was similar to those games.
“It was exactly the same as the Old Firm derbies I’ve played in,” said Keane. “No quality, people trying to kick each other all game.”
The striker's frustration with the result was obvious.
"We didn’t create a lot of chances," he said. "When you come away from home, if you don’t win the game it’s important you don’t lose the game."
However he remained bullish about Ireland’s qualification chances, pointing out that our current points tally is roughly where we could have expected to be after four games.
“Listen, by no means is this over,” insisted Keane. “We can’t get too down in ourselves, we’re disappointed, of course we are, but overall you look at the bigger picture, look at the points that we have.”