‘Most significant home win since 2015,’ says Stephen Kenny as Republic end Nations League hoodoo against Scotland
Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny said Saturday’s Nations League victory over Scotland was the team’s most significant home victory since 2015.
The Republic swept the Scots aside at the Aviva Stadium to deliver a badly needed first win in the competition.
For Kenny, it was the biggest Irish victory on home soil since the Euro 2016 play-off triumph over Bosnia-Herzegovina in November 2015.
“We told the players ‘you can enjoy that with your families’,” said Kenny.
“Because it’s the most significant home victory in seven years.”
Kenny also brushed off the suggestion that the defeat of Scotland was personally satisfying for him given the criticism he has received following the defeats by Armenia and Ukraine.
“I’m not even viewing it like that really,” added the Dubliner, who won his first Nations League game at the ninth attempt.
“I know what I’m doing, I’m very clear on what I’m doing and this has been a really radical shift in the players that we’ve brought through. It’s very exciting and clearly the public identify with it. “We had setbacks this week and we’re not happy with ourselves about that, particularly the defeat in Armenia, but we’ve got to switch on to Ukraine now because we’ve got several players who might not play.”Michael [Obafemi] is a doubt, Shane Duffy [suspended], John Egan and obviously Josh Cullen has just played all three.”
Having fallen to successive 1-0 defeats in their opening two games, the Republic appeared rejuvenated against Scotland and went ahead thanks to Alan Browne’s 20th-minute effort from close range.
Troy Parrott doubled the lead eight minutes later when he headed Obafemi’s perfectly-weighted lobbed pass home, before the Swansea striker got in on the act to wrap up the points six minutes after the restart with a thunderous drive from distance.
Obafemi subsequently succumbed to a groin injury but Kenny said it was too early to tell if he will be available for the Ukraine game on Tuesday.
Asked if the victory was his best day in the job since replacing Mick McCarthy in April 2020, Kenny said: “I haven’t really thought about that, but the players were terrific.
“I suppose the situation was that we went into this game after having real setbacks this week having lost the games.
“We ended up conceding, having not really conceded any chances in the previous two games. Today we did concede a couple of chances and Scotland didn’t take them, and we took ours, we capitalised on ours. I think that was important.
“Once we got the first goal, the crowd really got behind us and it really inspired the players.
“The players fed off the energy of that and scored three and we could’ve had more.
“Any sort of victory over Scotland is a big win because they’ve been a terrific team over the last couple of years since Steve Clarke was appointed. So, we’re just pleased to get the win.”