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Roy Keane rallies Ireland before 'cup-tie' meeting with Gibraltar

Published 02/09/2015

Assistant manager Roy Keane has urged the Republic of Ireland to take Gibraltar seriously
Assistant manager Roy Keane has urged the Republic of Ireland to take Gibraltar seriously

Roy Keane has ordered the Republic of Ireland to treat their Euro 2016 clash with Gibraltar as an English cup-tie ripe for a giant-killing.

The Republic face the Group D minnows in Faro, Portugal on Friday evening having already put seven past them without reply in the reverse fixture at the Aviva Stadium in October last year.

However, complacency is simply not on the agenda as Martin O'Neill and his assistant Keane prepare for the clash with the Gibraltarians, and Georgia's visit to Dublin three days later, knowing six points is a must if they are to retain hope of qualification.

Keane said: "First and foremost, you want to win the game of football. it's in our mindset that we can score one goal, two, seven, whatever it might be.

"I think we were 7-0 up after an hour (in the first game) and possibly we could have got more goals.

"But we are obviously away from home and we've seen enough of Gibraltar to understand that if we are not at the races...

"We've seen from the goal against Scotland and the chances they had against Germany - if we take our eye off the ball, we could slip up, so first and foremost, we have to win the game.

"For us as staff, we obviously want to see goals, but that's up to the players to go out and perform and get the right result, take some momentum into the home game.

"I cannot overanalyse it. It's a massive game for us and we are ready for it. Are we expected to win? Of course we are. That's good, you know.

"We've got experienced players. The biggest danger - you sometimes see it in English cup games - if you take your eye off the ball or underestimate somebody, then you are in trouble.

"I've seen it before and we have got to make sure that it does not happen. That's part of our jobs. We have experienced players in the squad, so I don't think there is any chance of that happening."

Ireland will hope to emerge from their double-header with maximum points while some of the teams above them - Poland, Germany and Scotland - fail to do so, although Keane insists that is largely irrelevant before the fact.

He said: "We found it difficult to win in Georgia, so I am pretty sure it will be tough for Scotland. But we cannot worry about what is going on elsewhere.

"There's a massive four games coming up for lots of countries, but our mindset is on what we can do.

"Obviously we are hoping that other teams might slip up but, first and foremost, we have got to do our own jobs."

O'Neill and Keane worked with a near-full complement of players on Wednesday with Stoke striker Jon Walters among the fold after a deadline day move failed to materialise, with only defender Paul McShane sitting out with minor discomfort in his hip and back.

Everton midfielder James McCarthy trained after nursing a sore knee earlier in the week, but Keane was not unduly concerned.

He said: "He did get a knock last week, but I think if you're playing midfield in the middle of the park, you should be getting knocks every week. That's the name of the game.

"You're hitting people, they're hitting you and I'm always concerned when lads turn up, particularly midfielders, and they've not had knocks. You're supposed to get knocks. You're supposed to get knocks in training. It's part of the game."

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