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Friday 24 November 2017

Christie: 'Our home form is not as bad as it's made out'

(l-r) Cyrus Christie shakes hands with Callum O'Dowda at the end of Saturday's draw in Copenhagen
(l-r) Cyrus Christie shakes hands with Callum O'Dowda at the end of Saturday's draw in Copenhagen

Cyrus Christie has backed his Ireland side to rise to the occasion on the World Cup stage in Dublin tomorrow night and secure a place at Russia 2018.

Christie, coping well as the stand-in for the absent Seamus Coleman, put in another shift at the back, the Middlesbrough man proud of the team's record of three successive clean sheets.

He could even have been on the scoresheet as Christie was at the heart of Ireland's best chance (only chance come to think of it) but the goal, like the win, was not to be.

But the clean sheet gained in Denmark and what Christie sees as a good home record (though the stats don't back that up) breeds confidence for the second leg.

"We were away from home have and done really well, kept clean sheets and picked up results," Christie says of that first leg.

"We've done it at home. We've had a good qualifying campaign and I don't see that our home form has been bad.

"We've been in these situations before and we've risen to the occasion. I'm sure we will rise to it tomorrow. We've come away again and are unbeaten and kept a clean sheet. That's the main positive."

Christie has a decent scoring record with the national team: in fact he has netted more goals from defence in his 16 games than Jeff Hendrick has in his 36 caps, from midfield.

And he came close to goal No. 3 on Saturday, only to be denied by Kasper Schmeichel.

"It was close enough, it bobbled away a bit and I could not cut it back to anyone," he says.

"I tried to get the ball over Schmeichel but the bobble was on it and I could not get enough power on it to lift it over him.

Rebounded

"It was a good chance and on another day he probably spills it out to someone and they follow it in on the rebound.

"When I did connect with the ball I thought that it could be going in but he has made the save and it rebounded out. It then just got away from Jeff in the end. It was one of those ones, I could not really get my foot around it to cut it back to someone. It would have been perfect if somebody had been coming in at the far post.

"It was not meant to be, I was close to scoring and hopefully we will get more chances tomorrow."

The Middlesbrough man feels that Denmark's attacking players were unable to break down the side in white shirts.

"I think that we are a tough team to play. We are disciplined, we stick to our game plan and our shape and we caused them a few problems," he says.

"On another day we may have scored and I think we limited their chances.

"The only real one they had was in the first half.

"We've come to their ground and put in a good performance.

"It was probably one of the best away performances as a game plan you could probably do. We need to make it count tomorrow," added Christie, pouring praise into the ear of keeper Darren Randolph, a player he sees every day as they are club-mates.

"Listen, he's had a great season so far for club and country, he's a magnificent keeper and I see it every day at the training ground and in matches. You're full of confidence when you see a player like him in there," says the full back, tipping the keeper as Ireland's player of the campaign to date.

"He's been fantastic, he doesn't get the praise he deserves, he's a fantastic keeper and he's getting better and better."

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