A rasping Seamus Coleman hailed a ‘massive’ three points for Ireland as they celebrated their first win against Austria since 1963 on Saturday.
West Brom winger James McClean netted the only goal in Vienna to put Martin O’Neill’s side top of Group D with 10 points from four games.
That win extended Coleman’s unbeaten run as captain to four games and having shouted himself hoarse throughout a tightly-contested 90 minutes, was barely able to share his thoughts on a vital win.
“We definitely rode our luck at times but after a few early spells we got to grips with the game,” he said. “It is great playing with these lads because you know they are going to leave it all out there, no matter what happens.
“We weren’t good enough at times in the first half and in the second, after we got the goal, we knew we couldn’t afford to sit back because of Austria’s quality. Some games its happens for you but we definitely played on the front foot. I am just happy to be leaving Austria with three points.”
Coleman himself made a crucial tackle to deny Marko Arnautovic a certain effort on goal to help secure a priceless win in Vienna.
The Boys in Green next host Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in March and the Everton full-back has called on his side to keep the momentum going in the new year.
It was an important challenge at the time but a lot of the defenders played their part in big moments. I am just happy to play a part in winning the game.
“It is a massive win. We wanted all three points and we got them. But we can’t take our eye off the ball now – we have a long way to go. In a previous qualifying campaign, we looked down and out but ended up qualifying so that shows you how things can change.
“But we can enjoy the Christmas period and then get back at it in 2017. When these lads put on the green shirt they keep going to the end. It is a tough group but we can only worry about ourselves. We have got good confidence now and a lot of home games to come.”