Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane has thanked fans for their support at the end of a very difficult week for him and his family.
Keane was introduced as a second-half substitute in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Scotland, a game he was given the option of sitting out after two of his cousins died following an accident in Portmarnock.
Keane’s cousin Alan Harris died on Wednesday after being overcome by toxic fumes while working in a sewer in Portmarnock, while the striker then learned on Friday that Alan's brother Stephen, who was left fighting for his life after the incident, had lost his own battle.
This Irish captain received a warm welcome from the supporters when he was introduced in the second half, although he was unable to help Ireland find a winner.
"It was a great reception. It’s been a tough week. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but for all the family it’s been difficult,” he said.
The LA Galaxy man had been a doubt for the crunch tie because his recent return from injury and he admitted he was not fully match fit coming into the tie.
"I was ready for the game," he said. "Physically I probably wasn’t ready for it in terms of my fitness and the way I’ve been. I played 90 minutes last week. I was only supposed to play 60 but I ended up playing 90.
"I’ve been out for two months. It’s a long time so I wouldn’t have been able to start the game and trying to play for 90 minutes would have been difficult after being out for such a long time."
The result leaves Ireland with an uphill battle to qualify for Euro 2016 and already automatic qualification may be beyond Martin O’Neill’s men but Keane insists his side will keep fighting.
"We'll keep plugging away," he said. "We’re definitely not out of this and that was the message that everyone was saying to each other.
"There’s no way we’re out of this. Scotland still have a couple of tough games coming up. There’s no easy games in the group but in our next two games we’ll be looking to get six points."
Keane’s team-mate Seamus Coleman echoed his captain's comments and insisted that Ireland can still book their place at France 2016.
"We've got to look at the next game. We'll look forward to September and try to win them. I know it's a clichéd answer but we can't give up on this group. I think we're still in it but obviously three points would have been a lot better than one," he said.
Coleman admitted that the dressing room was down after drawing a game they should have won.
"To have all of your hard work undone very, very early in the second half is massively disappointing. It feels like a defeat to be honest," he admitted.
"We're still two points behind Scotland but we're very disappointed in there. Scotland have a couple of tough games coming up, we've tough games coming up."