Republic of Ireland striker Daryl Murphy was a happy man after his first goal for the national side earned Martin O'Neill’s men a precious 2-2 draw in their opening World Cup qualifier against Serbia.

Substitute Daryl Murphy grabbed an 81st-minute equaliser after a Filip Kostic effort and a Dusan Tadic penalty had put the hosts in front following Jeff Hendrick's early goal.

“It’s nice,” Murphy, who recently signed for Newcastle, admitted.

 “I had to get off the mark at some stage.

“And to score here tonight and get a result like that, I’m delighted.”

Murphy, who was winning his 23rd cap, was unsurprisingly disappointed by the performance of referee Viktor Kassai.

The Hungarian favoured the home side with a number of questionable decisions, while Murphy and his team-mates also were frustrated by the slippery conditions.

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“There were a few bad decisions,” the 33-year-old lamented.

“The pitch didn’t help - it was hard to get the ball down and play like we would have liked to, but I don’t think there’ll by many teams coming here and getting a result, so we can be quite happy with that.”

Murphy was the beneficiary of some incredibly lax defending for his goal and could hardly believe his luck when his sleepy Serbian marker afforded him a free header.  

“I remember being free,” the Waterford man said.  

“I saw it coming. I’d a lot of time on it, there was nobody near me.

“It was one of them that you have so much time that you can make a mess of it.

“I just made sure I got a good contact on it and directed it.”