Martin O'Neill: Republic of Ireland manager expects 'tight' qualification campaign
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill expects the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign to be "very tight" after his side beat Austria in Vienna.
West Brom's James McClean scored the only goal of the game as the Republic beat their hosts for the first time.
The victory means they top Group D after four games, two points ahead of Serbia and four clear of Wales.
"I'm really pleased to have 10 points on the board, but there's a million miles to go," said O'Neill.
The Republic are the first away team to win in Austria since Germany in 2012.
The Austrians qualified for Euro 2016 with an unbeaten record of nine victories from 10 qualifying games.
But they have lost two of their first four matches in World Cup qualifying to sit fourth, six points behind the Republic.
O'Neill said: "We defied the odds to win this game. I don't think the record is important but it's three great points for us. Tonight just encapsulates the spirit of the team.
"We had to withstand a lot of pressure. It took us a long time to get into the game. We've got a good strength of character, which is very important.
"It's a really great start but I know from our experience in the Euro campaign that matches are difficult. I still believe it will be very tight."
'My biggest international goal'
Match-winner McClean, who only played after recovering from a back injury, scored his eighth international goal with a sweetly struck left-footed drive on 48 minutes.
"It was without a doubt my biggest goal for Ireland," he said. "You play on merit and the performances you put in, so I want to keep pulling my weight."
McClean, 27, joked assistant manager Roy Keane would have "killed" him had he squandered the chance, adding: "He hammers us in training that we must hit the target."