Don't completely rule out the Republic of Ireland when they take on France in Paris tonight in the second leg of the World Cup play-off.
The French won Saturday’s opening encounter 1-0 at Croke Park with a deflected effort by Nicolas Anelka, but Alan Kernaghan — who won 26 caps under Jack Charlton — refuses to write off the Republic.
“It would certainly make things interesting if the Republic could score first,” said Kernaghan, who helped big Jack’s side reach the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA.
“If the Republic could score it would be a massive boost for them and then the other challenge would be to keep a clean sheet.
“The current Republic team are having problems at both ends — scoring goals and keeping clean sheets.
“France aren’t the force they used to be but they’ve still got some fantastic players,” he added.
“At full international level the margins are so close — everything is so well thought out, every tactic one team have, the other team have a tactic to try to cancel it out — games tend to be very tight so it’s very difficult to get the better of the opposition. This game might be no different.”
Kernaghan, who will watch the game on television, is currently youth team coach at Rangers and is keen to get back into frontline management.
He already has experience of management at Clyde, Dundee, Livingston and Falkirk, following on from a distinguished playing career with the likes of Manchester City and Middlesbrough.
“But at the moment I am loving it at Rangers, it’s fantastic. I have learned an awful lot. I think I’ve become a much better coach and would be a much better manager because of it.
“My career in club management and my current job at Rangers are at the opposite end of the spectrum.
“In club management I used to spend the first hour of the day looking for somewhere to train — you don’t have that sort of problem at Rangers! The Murray Park facilities are fantastic.
“Because Rangers are such a big club and the demands are so high, it’s difficult for the manager to put young kids in the team. Whereas at other clubs, circumstances dictate that you have to play kids. We brought quite a few through at Dundee — one of them, Kevin McDonald, is currently playing in the English Premier with Burnley. It’s a great feeling when you bring in kids and see them thrive.
“At Rangers I am trying to produce players — at clubs I was trying to produce a team and get results.”