Daryl Murphy was the hero of the hour - but it was a topsy-turvy opening night in Belgrade for the Republic of Ireland.

It had started like a dream. Two minutes in, Jeff Hendrick grabbed his first goal for his country to give Martin O’Neill’s men the perfect start to their World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade.

Robbie Brady’s free-kick was poorly defended and Burnley’s record signing was on hand to drive a low shot home from just outside the penalty area in the third minute, with Branislav Ivanovic providing what may have been a crucial deflection in slippery conditions in the Serbian capital.

After that, it all went pear-shaped. Serbia took over and the only surprise was that it took so long - 62 minutes - for Filip Kostic to equalise. Dusan Tadic's penalty seven minutes later had the visitors on the ropes but substitute Murphy bailed Ireland out, heading home from a corner in the 81st minute.