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The Republic of Ireland claimed a maiden Nations League win at the 13th time of asking as they saw off Scotland in surprisingly comfortable fashion in Dublin.
Badly in need of points after defeats by Armenia and Ukraine in their first two games, the Republic took a 20th-minute lead through Alan Browne with Troy Parrott doubling the advantage after being teed up brilliantly by the impressive Michael Obafemi.
Obafemi then capped an outstanding individual display by thundering home the Republic’s third from distance five minutes before being forced off injured.
The Irish thought they had netted a fourth just after the hour but a VAR review found that Grant Hanley had hooked Scott Hogan’s header off the line before it crossed.
While the Republic will bask in the relief of a long-awaited win in this competition, for Scotland it is a disappointing result given how they bounced back from losing their World Cup play-off semi-final with Ukraine by beating Armenia on Wednesday.
The victory lifts the Republic up to second in Group B1, ahead of the third-placed Scots but having played a game more.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke had admitted to being wary of an Irish backlash after their winless start to the Nations League and that is exactly what happened with the Republic looking much sharper and hungrier from the outset at a noisy Aviva Stadium.
Obafemi, one of five players drafted in by Stephen Kenny after the Ukraine defeat, was key to the Republic’s rejuvenation in what was the 21-year-old Dubliner’s first international start.
It was Obafemi who robbed Scotland center-back Grant Hanley of the ball before finding James McClean, and the Swansea striker would have connected with McClean’s cross at the far post had it not been for Scott McKenna’s header flicking the ball behind for a corner.