Euro 2020 qualifiers: Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy 'hated' Gibraltar victory

Jeff Hendrick's second-half goal was decisive for McCarthy and assistant manager Robbie Keane
Jeff Hendrick's second-half goal was decisive for Mick McCarthy and assistant manager Robbie Keane

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has described his side's 1-0 Euro 2020 qualifier victory away to Gibraltar as a "horrible game".

A Jeff Hendrick goal ensured the Republic got McCarthy's second spell in charge off to a winning start.

However, McCarthy admitted he was hugely relieved as he made no attempt to deflect from what was an uninspiring performance at the Victoria Stadium.

"I pretty much hated every minute of that match," he told RTE.

"I knew what it was going to be like and it didn't surprise me. I just said to the lads 'what a horrible game but a great three points'.

"We were never going to complain about the pitch, although it doesn't make it any easier. It was blowing a gale, but we didn't play well and Darren Randolph was probably man of the match with the save he made to keep it at 0-0.

"I was asked earlier about gaining momentum but we can only gain momentum by winning a game and I would have taken a 1-0 win any time.

"I don't want that. I want us to score more goals and play better, but it's three points and we move on."

'Doherty experiment didn't work'

Matt Doherty
Matt Doherty was replaced by Robbie Brady in the 56th minute

The former Sunderland and Ipswich manager started with Matt Doherty on the right wing, in front of captain Seamus Coleman at right-back, but he took the in-form Wolves wing-back off and suggested it is a tactic he will not be repeating.

"It was an experiment that hasn't worked," McCarthy said.

"I said he has been one of the best attacking wing-backs in the Premier League, but has he got a box of tricks to get by people? Probably not.

"If you are a full-back then you are normally coming from behind the ball and maybe there wasn't much space in behind them when they sit in."

McCarthy was more impressed with his central midfielders, Conor Hourihane and Hendrick, having spoken to the Burnley player before the game about scoring more goals.

"I had spoken to Jeff about having only scored one goal in 50-odd internationals and we had worked on trying to get midfielders into the box," he added.

"Conor is an excellent player and he played well also - they were both very good."

'Georgia will be thinking we are hopeless'

Captain Coleman celebrates Hendrick's winning goal
Captain Coleman celebrates with goalscorer Hendrick

The Republic's next qualifier is on Tuesday in Dublin when they will host Georgia, who opened their campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Switzerland in Tbilisi.

"It will be a totally different game," added McCarthy, who led the Republic to the 2002 World Cup finals in his first spell in charge of the international side.

"They will probably be watching our match back and thinking we are hopeless, but we will play better than that.

"They will be looking to gain an advantage and get some momentum going by beating us, but we have got loads to play for now as we have three points on the board."

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