Jonathan Walters still believes in Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland's Shane Duffy (centre) celebrates scoring his side's goal
From Brendan Crossan in Tbilisi

JONATHAN Walters admitted the Republic of Ireland players “didn't lay a glove” on World Cup Group D opponents Georgia after Saturday night's disappointing 1-1 draw – but remains optimistic of topping the group after tomorrow night's showdown with Serbia.

It's possible the Republic could be ousted from second spot with Wales closing the gap to two points after their gutsy 1-0 win over Austria in Cardiff.

Chris Coleman's men should bank points in Moldova tomorrow night and the Welsh will be hoping Serbia beat the Irish so thay can move into the play-off berth.

“We know Georgia dominated possession but we created four chances and should have scored four,” said Walters, who came through the 90 minutes after recovering from an ankle injury in the build-up to the game.

“It's a disappointing result but if we win on Tuesday we're top of the group.

“However today's result has gone, if we win our last three games we're there so it's a huge game on Tuesday [against Serbia] and if we get the three points…

“You can be as negative as you want – we didn't get the result we wanted but the cold fact is if we win on Tuesday we're top of the group so we've got to win.”

While Walters didn't disguise how poor the Irish performed on Saturday night, he hopes their finishing is much better tomorrow night.

James McClean, Shane Long and Aiden McGeady squandered excellent chances in the second half in Tbilisi.

“Look, it's tough, letting them have possession; I was playing right side of midfield and ended up playing right-back most of the game.

“It was similar for James McClean.

“We didn't lay a glove on them as such but if we can keep possession a bit better we'll be a lot better. But that's easier saying it and doing it on the pitch.

“We had four chances. If we had taken one of those we win the game.”

Serbia lead Group D by two points and will fancy their chances of extending that lead in Dublin tomorrow night – but it's an occasion Burnley's new signing is relishing.

“It's going to be a difficult game but that's why you're in football for – for games like that,” said Walters.

“If we win on Tuesday, as I said, the draw against Georgia is all forgotten about. So we've got to positive going into it.”

Meanwhile, it was a mixed night for Derry's Shane Duffy. Having celebrated his first international goal, he was disappointed with how he used the ball out of defence.

“I was quite happy, but I was a bit sloppy on the ball at times in the second half. I'm just trying to get better,” he said.

“Obviously we're at home against Serbia and we're a lot more comfortable. I think we play better [at home].

“Listen, any away game in Europe is quite tough, no matter the name of the country but we're looking forward to a massive game now on Tuesday which we can all focus on. That'll take us where we want to be.”

The Brighton defender added: “Get your points away from home and win your home games, I think, will get us there. If we go and beat Serbia we'll be top of the group.

“We've another tough game at home to Moldova and then Wales is the big one. But hopefully we can get there before that.”

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