“I’M happy for the Irish people because I know it’s 25 years since there was an other trophy.”
So admitted a pleased Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni as he spoke following the celebrations on the pitch after captain, and matchwinner, Robbie Keane had lifted the Carling Nations Cup aloft before the biggest crowd (25,161) of the week.
“I am proud for the Irish people. It’s important. It’s not a friendly game. It’s important for Scotland, for Northern Ireland, for Wales and for us it’s important.
“When we lose it’s a disaster. When I win for me it’s normal. We always want to win.
“We can now go to Macedonia with more confidence and, I trust, to achieve a good result.
“I said (on Saturday) that it was no easy game because we want to win a trophy and our satisfaction is we played again with a team which has options.
“We scored nine goals and conceded nil goals. This demonstrates (the importance) of a team playing with order and good discipline. I had confidence and trust about the result when we play with this mentality and attitude. It’s possible to achieve results.”
Perhaps the epitome of the positives in a difficult week for the Irish camp, Keane, with his record-extending 49th goal in his 107th appearance, also pleased Trapattoni.
“I didn’t play him for 90 minutes to keep him fit for Macedonia. At the moment he is fresh.”
The pressure Scotland exerted on Ireland late on was also good preparation for the vital Euro 2012 qualifier next week.
“Yes. It will be similar,” said Trapattoni who is confident he’ll have more experience back ahead of the team’s departure for Skopje on Thursday.
“We will have one or two more players back, Whelan, O’Shea and also McGeady. It’s important they come in without injury.”
Scotland manager Craig Levein said the immediate word that sprung to mind for him and his team was frustration.
“I felt we played the game in a manner in which we’d normally get a draw,” said Levein.
“We played well tonight. Coming across here to play the Republic of Ireland in their home ground is not easy to do. For long spells of the game we were the better team. You’re lucky to get two or three chances in an international match and we had double that. I’ve great admiration for my players this week. They gave absolutely everything they had at the end of a long season. The tournament has been excellent. The only disappointment is not winning it.”
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