Roy Keane refused to answer questions yesterday about the incident with businessman Frank Gillespie at the team hotel on Wednesday that overshadowed the Republic of Ireland’s preparations for their Euro 2016 qualifier in Scotland.
Speaking at the hotel in Portmarnock for the first time since the incident, Keane flatly refused to discuss what happened, saying: “No, I’m not,” before denying that the publicity had proved a distraction.
However, when Martin O’Neill’s assistant was asked if staff and players had to be careful about where they went, Keane (at the start of our audio clip below) said: “No, went to Malahide and had a coffee, it’s fine. We were out last night for a meal, it’s fine.
“We’re not One Direction.”
On matters on the pitch, Keane went on to say that the defeat to Scotland has put “massive pressure” on the Republic of Ireland to win their home games in the European Qualifiers.
Martin O’Neill’s side have four games at the Aviva in the European Qualifiers next year against Poland, Scotland, Georgia and world champions Germany.
The Republic of Ireland assistant realises that home form is pivotal to qualifying for a big tournament.
Keane said: “When you drop a few points away from home, it puts massive pressure to win your home games, but that’s the game, we’re not daft, we appreciate that.
“But we’re looking forward to playing in the Aviva, and we’ll have another chance on Tuesday night for some of the new lads to get used to the Aviva.”
However, Keane thinks that the players and the supporters will need to make the Aviva “hostile” for opposing teams if the Boys in Green are to improve on their home form.
He said: “It’s probably not been as hostile as some of the other lads used to now it, as everyone knows, and the record would suggest that.
“But we’ll just have to try and enjoy playing at the Aviva, and make it hostile for teams and that comes down to the players and supporters.”