Martin O'Neill gets very touchy over questions about Ireland's football

The Republic of Ireland is now second in Group D with 12 points just behind on goal differential to first-place Serbia.

The visitors broke the deadlock after just four minutes at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena through Shane Duffy.

"Maybe it was too good a start and subconsciously we sat back way too much and wanted to hold on to the lead".

"We came here to try and win the game but this was always going to be a tough match, Georgia have not perhaps got their points on the board that their play has deserved".

Ireland can climb into top spot by defeating Serbia on Tuesday when they welcome them to the Aviva Stadium.

"It's still in our hands - if we win three out of three games now, we'll qualify". We'll have to play better, we'll have to give the Serbians less room to play than we did the Georgians tonight, particularly in the first half.

"But we didn't play well enough in the first-half and Georgia were better than us".

However, that was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing night for Martin O'Neill's Ireland.

"For me it's a learning curve and I need to learn as quickly as possible to put things right".

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Soon after the restart, Jano Ananidze should have done better when the ball fell invitingly for him on the edge of the penalty area, but his low strike was curled wide of Randolph's post.

For the team, he says, there is still the opportunity to leapfrog Serbia at the top of the table by beating them in Dublin but clearly the collective performance will have to be transformed from one here which allowed Georgia to dominate Ireland pretty much up until the closing stages.

"And he relished it, he scored a fantastic late goal to win the game for us".

Aleksandar Kolarov then made it two for Serbia 10 minutes later, arriving at the back post to slot home, before Aleksandar Mitrovic rounded off the scoring by converting Filip Kostic's delivery nine minutes from the end.

A free-kick ended up with Aiden McGeady ten yards out, but the Sunderland winger got his feet under the ball and blazed it over in the third minute of injury time.

He said: "Obviously our aim tonight was to get the three points and get the first win in the group". We definitely know it could have been a lot better but we had to grind it out and defend and a point away from home is sometimes a good result.

There was still 41 minutes left to play in the first half and if you were to look at the highlights reel from the opening half, it would have possibly appeared a decent performance from Ireland based on chances in the opposition half. But they're a good side.

The 27-year-old, who has been one of Bournemouth's key players in the Premier League, failed to impose himself on the game before being replaced by Aiden McGeady just after the hour mark.

  • Tabitha Byrd