Right, we’re set to leave Georgia and hopefully, we’ll never have to go back.
Okay, that’s not entirely fair. There are some really cool Soviet-era cable cars in Chiatura.
We’ve picked up a point, but we’re going to have to get something in Switzerland next week, which is far from ideal. At least we’ve got a few days to forget Ronnie Whelan’s mumblings.
Time to grade the players.
Darren Randolph – 6: Had little to do other than organise walls and watch shots go harmlessly wide. In fact, I’m fairly sure the only meaningful contribution he had to make was simply to shout at his team mates for their clear lack of composure.
Seamus Coleman – 5: Gave ball away twice early doors and never really got into the game. He frustratingly went on the underlap when the overlap was the better option time and time again. There has to be questions about his short-term future in this XI.
Shane Duffy – 6: Probably Ireland’s calmest player, but you could have written that before the game even began. Did well to quell a one-v-one midway through the opening half. No aerial threat though, including the final chance of the game.
John Egan – 6: He had the best chance of the entire game, which came in the opening minutes. Certainly didn’t look out of place, nor was the absence of Richard Keogh felt in any way, shape or form. That’s about the best he could have hoped for.
Matt Doherty – 5: Again, looked uncomfortable at left-full. Manning must be brought into the squad. Bobbles didn’t help him on his weak side, either. Shift him onto the right side and I’m sure you’ll see a revitalised player.
Glenn Whelan – 5: Lost his runner for an early Georgian chance which was struck well wide. Given his primary role is to shield, there were far too many opposition midfield runners getting in or around the box, freely available.
Jeff Hendrick – 5: One of his poorer showings, it has to be said. Hendrick tried more than most to link up with Collins, but it wasn’t happening for him. Defensively, he didn’t use his head and pressed for the sake of it.
Conor Hourihane – 5: His ball in for the Egan header off the post was superb, but that’s about it. The thing about Hourihane is that you just cannot take him out of the XI because one ball into the box, with quality, is usually our best hope of carving out an opening. Quiet.
James McClean – 6: Ireland’s best player and it pains me to say it. That’s not because I don’t like McClean, it’s because when he’s our best player, we’ve lacked quality. His defensive efforts were superb, even though he couldn’t get a kick in the final third.
Callum Robinson – 5: His link-up with Coleman did not work. I put that down to Coleman more so than Robinson, but I’m not sure why Collins wasn’t sacrificed with Robinson going central. He would have had more of an impact.
James Collins – 5: Four touches. Five? God help us. Not his fault, but God help us.
Substitutions – 6: I’m not one bit impressed that I can’t blame this result on the fact Aaron Connolly didn’t get a run. But he did have two chances when he made his debut, the pitch robbing him for the second of those. Proves the point that Ireland, when they need to go long, need a runner in behind, not a hold-up.
Mick McCarthy – 5: Changes came too late and the need to accommodate Jeff Hendrick is baffling. Mick might give good pressers and pretend to be a strippergram, but if this was a Martin O’Neill display, we’d all be shaking our fists.