Dick Advocaat admits Aiden McGeady has surprised him by the speed with which he has settled into Russian club football - but he is determined the Ireland winger will not be given the chance to show that form on Friday.
Advocaat's Russia are the visitors to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, where they will be looking to make amends for last month's shock home defeat by Slovakia in Euro 2012 qualifying. Ireland sit on top of Group B after wins over Armenia and Andorra, and Friday's opponents will certainly be familiar to McGeady, who in August left Celtic to join Spartak Moscow.
Advocaat said: "I know him from Celtic and there he was already a great talent. He's a dangerous player. If we give him the space to play, then he can damage many defenders, but we are not intending to do that. I know they are very happy at Spartak with him. That kind of player, who can pass, who can score a goal, who can cross a ball, there are not so many players of that calibre."
He added: "I was also quite surprised he has done so well. He has adjusted so quickly. He has only been there for two months and, if you go abroad, the majority of players need more time to feel comfortable. But from the beginning he was the key player of their team."
Russia are desperate to make amends for missing out on the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer and Advocaat feels his team are already in the situation where another defeat would be a major blow to their hopes.
But he expects the visitors to put on a better display than against Slovakia after sensing a growth in confidence among his players.
He said: "There is always pressure in qualification games but there is certainly pressure after the defeat by Slovakia. We know the importance of this game - a win or a draw but we cannot lose.
"We have a way of playing and if everyone is there we are a good team. They have to show they can play football tomorrow but they must also have confidence in themselves.
"I was really disappointed with the result against Slovakia but I was not disappointed with the commitment of the team.
"I have the feeling the players are in better form, the players are playing more regularly for their club sides so I have a much better feeling than I had before."