Keith Andrews highlights the very impressive "encouraging signs" from Ireland's new system

Martin O'Neill employed a diamond behind Shane Long and James McClean

Shane Long, James McClean, Ireland, Slovakia

Republic of Ireland's James McClean congratulates goalscorer Shane Long ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Former Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews says the diamond formation employed by Ireland tonight turned out to be quite impressive in the first half.

Shane Long was partnered up front by winger James McClean, who had occasionally played there for Wigan.

"I thought it was very impressive. I was quite sceptical when I'd seen and heard the system that he was playing in terms of James McClean up front," Andrews told Off The Ball's Joe Molloy at the Aviva Stadium after the match.

"I have to say, him and Shane Long were very, very impressive. [They] stretched the defence, created space for Wes Hoolahan to go on play in because they stretched the defence and pulled them back. The only criticism I would have would be we looked a little bit susceptible on the counter-attack which cost us certainly with the first goal. But very, very encouraging signs in the first half I thought."  

But Andrews is not sure that Long is "nailed on" to start in manager Martin O'Neill's eyes.

He also gave his take on the goalkeeping situation as well as the players who erred for the Slovakia goals.