Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni heaps praise on Aiden McGeady
Winger Aiden McGeady earned a pat on the back from manager Giovanni Trapattoni after inspiring the Republic of Ireland to a comfortable victory over Andorra.
The Spartak Moscow midfielder gave full-back Jordi Escura a torrid time as he helped to launch the competitive era at the Aviva Stadium with a win.
McGeady, who has not been an automatic choice during Trapattoni's reign, repeatedly caused panic in the visitors' defence by cutting inside from his wing, no more effectively so than when he set up skipper Robbie Keane's 54th-minute strike.
Trapattoni said: "I congratulated him after the game for what he showed us. This is his quality.
"He did what I have been asking him to do. We know he can dribble and cross and shoot, and that he is quick.
"But we have been working on his positioning on the pitch and by playing the way he did, he saw 30 per cent more of the ball.
"We showed him DVDs of the Andorra team yesterday and again this morning, and I am happy that he understood.
"This was one of his best games for us."
The Republic took the lead with just 14 minutes gone when full-back Kevin Kilbane met Liam Lawrence's near-post corner with a glancing header to claim his eighth senior international goal.
However, the floodgates failed to open and they had to wait until five minutes before the break for Kevin Doyle to blast a long-range effort past keeper Josep Antoni Gomes.
But Andorra were back in the game within five minutes, courtesy of an equally impressive strike by midfielder Christian Martinez, and it took Keane's 44th goal for his country from the best move of the game to wrap up the points.
A second victory in five days left the Republic top of Group B on goal difference ahead of Slovakia, who had earlier claimed a surprise win in Russia.
They face both sides in the space of five days next month, and those results could be key to their hopes of qualification.
Trapattoni said: "We have six points, the same as Slovakia, but now we have to look to next month.
"Slovakia will be a strong team, like Russia. Those two teams will be our competition for first place.
"It is not my habit to under-estimate teams like Macedonia, for example, but I think Russia and Slovakia will be our opponents for first place in the table.
"We can take good morale from our results, but the competition starts now.
"I am glad not only with the result, I am glad because the team is playing how I want it to. But now we must continue."