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Thursday 17 August 2017

O'Neill: I really don't know if Coleman and McCarthy will be fit for Celtic Park

The news that James McCarthy may be dealing with a serious injury which would remove him as an option for Celtic Park next month cast a shadow over the glow of satisfaction won in Germany.

And there is still no certainty about Séamus Coleman's availability according to Martin O'Neill, who is clearly worried about their well-being.

"We've got one or two players who can do a wee bit for us and it's important for them to be fit and you never know, James McCarthy and Séamus might be fit in a month's time, I don't know."

Asked whether both players were a significant doubt, he said: "I really don't know. I would be hoping that they sooner or later will be back playing at club level."

Not much comfort to be had from those words which would suggest that he perhaps knows more than he is letting on. The word is that the fitness of McCarthy, in particular, has become a big cause for concern.

O'Neill, naturally enough, gave great credit to the players who were fit for Germany and particularly David Meyler, the emergency right-full.

"Meyler's done fine for us, you know he has really done fine. When I told him he was playing at full-back, he just had a little look at me. But he'll play anywhere.

"Makeshift in full-back playing Germany? A great effort by the team."

Momentum

O'Neill is delighted with momentum he has managed to create and while he understands that spirit will not win a game unaided by all the other things needed in successful football teams, he believes it is a vital component of this squad.

"It is vitally important and we need this, we need this spirit. I think the players lost a bit of confidence last year where maybe they were in a position against Austria where that was a real disappointment to concede a late goal in that game but keeping that spirit going is really important for us."

"I felt about the players that they didn't lose heart during the game, they didn't lose heart. It's easy for me to say that now that we got the late equaliser but we had a chance, you know.

"Wes Hoolahan's had a chance which the fellow has blocked, got the block on when Wes has almost had a full shot on it.

Irritated

"I think James McClean pulled it back for him. So we had a chance or two and of course as we keep players up the field, they have the opportunity going the other way.

"If we had lost the game 1-0, I'd have been really irritated and disappointed for the goal we conceded. We could have stopped it a couple of times during the course of it and particularly we could have got out to close it down which is something that we need to do."

O'Neill will sit back and take this in before setting his mind to Scotland and another huge away game.

"I will take a wee bit of time to think about it. Obviously I watched the Scotland-Poland game. Scotland are on a good run at the moment, they really are, they're playing with plenty of confidence."

"I don't know what their reaction to us getting a late goal against Germany," he said with a grin.

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