Randolph: 'We get written off a lot. The lads are used to it'

There was no quick getaway from their Swiss mission for the Republic of Ireland players.

Randolph: 'We get written off a lot. The lads are used to it'

There was no quick getaway from their Swiss mission for the Republic of Ireland players.

No private jets or chartered planes ready to whisk them away from Geneva in the dead of night and back to their respective clubs.

At lunchtime yesterday, a table full of the squad based in the north west of England sat together in their civvies having a natter over some overpriced airport grub.

Even they would raise their eyes at €15 for a croissant and a coffee.

The juxtaposition of some severely hungover supporters strewn across seats, starring vacantly at the departures board, was stark.

Jeff Hendrick, James McClean, John Egan, Callum Robinson, Derrick Williams and Alan Browne were just a handful of those sitting together.

Whether they were continuing the dissection of the previous night’s 2-0 defeat is another matter.

In times of trouble and strife, players can so often revert to their default damage control settings for comfort to get through any media commitments – always looking ahead to the next game, calling out their critics for inspiration, talking about positives rather than dwelling on what went wrong.

There is always another game. The show always goes on.

“We knew going into it that we had two cup finals left, so it’s on to Denmark now,” Enda Stevens reasoned.

“Hopefully we can really knuckle down and get the three points that we need.”

The Sheffield United man continued, adding a bit more depth to his assessment of the 90 minutes against Switzerland.

“We just need to sustain that level of intensity and front-foot performances for longer periods, and maybe start doing that a bit earlier in the first half.”

It was a point raised by Glenn Whelan immediately after the final whistle when he spoke to RTÉ on the pitch.

The muck, rainwater and sweat was still wringing from his drenched white jersey when the veteran midfielder revealed his frustrations.

“We need to take that second-half performance, just getting on the ball, passing it, being confident and getting belief. Maybe Whelo was right, not showing teams that much respect,” Darren Randolph added.

“I can’t speak for the other lads on the pitch, Switzerland are a good side and probably the best in the group. At times you will have to ride your luck.”

Ireland certainly did that in Geneva, Randolph tipping Ricardo Rodriguez’s second-half penalty onto the post to give Mick McCarthy’s side a lifeline in the final quarter.

“I thought ‘there is enough time there to get one chance, this is the moment we will score’,” the Middlesbrough stopper admitted.

That burst of optimism petered out as the Swiss regained control with the extra man following Seamus Coleman’s sending off for a deliberate handball in the lead up to the award of the spot kick.

“Hopefully it has just built up more of a climax for when we win and we qualify,” Randolph continued.

Victory is a necessity against Denmark in the final Group D appointment at Aviva Stadium next month, while the Danes arrive needing just a point to secure automatic qualification.

The last two games – regardless of being tricky away fixtures – have sapped so much of the positivity that had been built up following the remnants of the turgid final days under Martin O’Neill.

It’s not just the results - a draw and a defeat - rather the worrying depths of ineptitude in possession and sheer panic whenever Ireland are under pressure.

Those ills, married with fear, is a worrying cocktail.

“Before the group started, I don’t think anyone would have had us in the position we are with one game to go,” Randolph continued.

We get written off a lot. The lads are used to it. We use it as motivation. It doesn’t bother me.

"People can say what they want but look where we are. We can’t be that bad.

“We’ve had it the whole group where people haven’t expected us to do well or be here now with a chance of winning to qualify.

"We knew even going into this game that nobody gave us a chance,” Randolph added, admitting they are not oblivious to outside criticisms.

“We know it. We hear people say it, we read it. People said it from the start of the group, and we are where we are now through the hard work of the team and the staff.”

A key component will be missing for the Denmark showdown on November 18. Coleman, despite enduring his worst performance for some time, will be a major loss.

Matt Doherty is a more than suitable replacement for the Ireland captain, but Coleman’s leadership should not be discounted.

“When I looked at it, I thought it was harsh. I didn’t see it back, but it doesn’t look like his hand is in too unnatural a position,” Stevens felt.

“Fair enough if you give the penalty, but I don’t think there’s any need for the yellow card. That’s what we got to do, we’ve got to do it for each other against Denmark.

"Seamus is so disappointed, but he’ll be the one giving us a pat on the back now against Denmark and he’ll be still leading the line for us.

"He’ll be cheering us on and giving us that confidence to go out and perform.”

Ireland, somehow, have to find a way to deliver that knockout blow.

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