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Saturday 3 December 2016

Martin O'Neill boost ahead of Scotland tie

Irish boss says Hoolahan, O’Shea and Keane fit for Scots tie

Republic of Ireland's Wesley Hoolahan with Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh and Darren Randolph during squad training. Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin
Republic of Ireland's Wesley Hoolahan with Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh and Darren Randolph during squad training. Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin

IT’S all smiles in the Irish camp as boss Martin O’Neill got a triple injury boost ahead of Saturday’s vital Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Scotland.

The majority of O’Neill’s panel had the morning off from training and only the players who did not feature in yesterday’s 0-0 draw with England were put through their paces at this morning’s session in Malahide.

Wes Hoolahan took a full part in that session and he’s now ready to feature against Scotland on Saturday while John O’Shea also looks to be over the injury worry which made him a concern, and O’Neill feels that captain Robbie Keane is in good shape after playing 90 minutes for his club on Saturday night.

READ MORE: John O'Shea is the only doubt for Scotland clash

“John O’Shea is feeling easier than he was yesterday evening and that’s good news for us,” O’Neill said after training this morning.

“His calf had tightened up, he has been dealing with that for most of the season. Wes is fine, he trained okay today and his knee had no ill-effects.

“Robbie will be here later today. According to my physio, he is in decent shape, he played 90 minutes in Saturday and that will help,” added O’Neill, who was pleased with his side’s efforts against England yesterday.

“A number of players came out of the England game with a lot of credit. We were playing England, who are unbeaten since the last World Cup, they won all the games in their group, they may well be one of the favourites for France and seeing as we had a number of players who have not played since May, I thought it was excellent for us.”

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho could not disguise his amazement at the news that FIFA struck a ‘loan’ arrangement with the FAI after Thierry Henry’s handball in 2009.

“This, with the Irish federation, for me is the end of the world,” said Mourinho. “You change the truth of the game for €5m? What next? Because more stories will come for sure.”

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