Martin O'Neill - Now we have to beat Scotland

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
O'Neill delighted with his side's second half revival
O'Neill delighted with his side's second half revival

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill believes his side will need to beat Scotland their next Euro 2016 qualifier to keep their hopes of making it to the finals on track.

Late goals in Georgia, Germany and now in the 1-1 draw against Poland at the Aviva Stadium have kept the Irish Euro 2016 dream alive, with O'Neill elated after he saw his side scramble a deserved point in his latest match at a electrified Aviva Stadium.

The draw leaves Ireland two points behind the Scots heading into the June showdown, with Poland a further point ahead and Germany also sitting on ten points, O'Neill suggested a victory against the Scots was now needed to give his side a realistic hope of a top two finish and automatic qualification.

"We probably have to be beat Scotland now, but we have kept it all alive heading into the next game after a wonderful second half performance from the players," was O'Neill's assessment of his side's position in Group D.

"I'm absolutely delighted with the players. Our second-half performances was outstanding.

"We were tentative in the first half and gave away a silly goal, but after that we were terrific. We deserved it and we might have on it.

"The most important thing to say at half-time was that we were still in the game and we had to keep belief. The players will always give it everything. We've scored lots of late goals but that shows the character in that team. These players may lack some things, but they don't lack character.

"If we show that drive and determination there is no reason why we can't go on a win against Scotland in our next match."

Shane Long (above) admitted his last gasp equaliser may have been the best moment of his international career to date, as he revelled in the buoyant atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium.

"Scoring against England at Wembley was a great feeling for me, but that goal was a right up there with that," said Long.

"For the first 45 minutes Poland were brilliant but we changed the shape and we were right in the game then. It will be between us (Ireland and Poland) and Scotland for that second place and we can't drop any more points.

"Losing is massive and it keeps them within touching distance. We need to win our home games and make it a fortress. It was an electric atmosphere from both sets of fans, and it helped us to get back into the game."

Meanwhile, Poland keeper Lukasz Fabianski claimed he had been fouled in the build-up to the late Ireland goal that could prove to be so important in Group D. 

"I think we deserved to win but they will say they deserve a point," said the Swansea keeper.

"We did well for almost 90 minutes but a lack of concentration right at the end has cost us. They got the corner for the goal but there should be a free-kick for a foul on me.

"They put more pressure on us in the second half. We were trying to defend and catch them on the break, we had a lot of crosses to deal with and defend well. I thought we were unlucky."