O'Neill: Players are getting booked for almost anything

O'Neill: Players are getting booked for almost anything

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill has said he cannot stop his players picking up silly bookings in the European Qualifiers as "referees can book players for almost anything".

Currently, there are six Republic of Ireland players on yellow cards going into the next European Qualifer - Marc Wilson, Glenn Whelan, Jonathan Walters, Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady and Jeff Hendrick - with the last three being booked in the last game against Scotland on Friday.

O'Neill said yesterday that he didn't think it was possible to minimise the risk of players getting yellow cards, and so miss a vital European qualifier, while not inhibiting their game.

He said: "Referees can book players for almost anything these days and you're asking players to be careful. You're giving away some silly foul, but players are getting booked for almost anything.

"So it's an impossibility to ask players to stay clear of that. We'll have to deal with each situation as it arises."

The Northern Irishman would love to have a full squad to choose from, without any suspensions or injuries, as he feels that his team are slightly behind in their points target at the moment.

He said: "We would have been absolutely delighted if we had eight points on the board, we're a point short at this minute, we have to try and rectify that and the next two games have utmost significance."

He bemoaned the fact that his next competitive game, against Poland in March, is "a long way away".

He said: "It's always the case with international football, your last competitive game before Christmas is a concern and it would have been nice to have got something out of the game.

"It's a long time to wait, and if you're looking at Scotland, that's not until June time, that's a lifetime away, which is a bit disappointing from that viewpoint.

"We'd love to be playing Scotland next week again."

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