Maloney’s stunning strike proves enough

Scotland's Shaun Maloney (left) netted the winner.
Scotland's Shaun Maloney (left) netted the winner.
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Shaun Maloney last night revealed his outstanding winning goal for Scotland against the 
Republic of Ireland was the result of a well-worked training ground move.

Maloney curled in a fine, angled shot in the 75th minute to give Scotland this win at Celtic Park.

Scotland took a short corner which led to Scott Brown back-heeling the ball into Maloney’s path.

His curling shot brushed the inside of the far post on its way into the net.

“On those occasions, you try to pick a spot,” Maloney said. “You do it hundreds of time in training and thankfully this time it’s in the net.

“(Brown) has seen me brilliantly. It was sort of worked out on the training ground. I’m not sure it was fully like that, but it worked and it’s brilliant to get the win.”

The goal was all that separated the two teams in a frantic match full of emotion and intensity, if not always quality.

“It was pretty brutal,” Maloney said. “It wasn’t pretty at times.

“We tried to play but it was a physical game and we were glad to be on the winning side.”

Richard Keogh’s header hit the crossbar for the Republic in stoppage time but Scotland hung on for the win.

Scotland go level on seven points with Ireland and Germany, with Group D leaders Poland with 10, but there are surely twists and turns still to come before the two automatic qualifying spots and the play-off place are secured.

“It was a great victory for us in terms of the group,” said goalkeeper David Marshall.

“Obviously Ireland started reasonably well but this puts us in a great position going into the next games.”

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill had sprung a surprise when he left out captain Robbie Keane from the starting line-up.

Former Leeds United forward Keane had last been left out of a competitive game for which he was fit against Estonia in 2001, but was last night named among the substitutes as Richard Keogh, Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson, Jeff Hendrick and Shane Long were drafted into the team which drew in Germany last month.

Keane was thrown on towards the end, but was unable to help Ireland conjure an equaliser.