Scotland captain Scott Brown was dismayed Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli did not send Ireland midfielder James McCarthy off during Saturday’s Euro 2016 draw in Dublin.
The combative midfielder was on the receiving end of some rough treatment from the hosts, who opted for an aggressive approach in a bid to secure the win they required to keep their Euro 2016 finals qualification hopes on track.
The Celtic player was involved in a number of tussles with Everton player McCarthy with neither player shirking away from the challenge.
Brown did, however, feel McCarthy should have been sent off for elbowing defender Russell Martin during the first half.
Brown said: “I’m not really into making pals on the pitch. Off the pitch I think he’ll be all right but I can’t say anything because I’m the exact same.
“I quite enjoy that, but they should have had a red card. It was a shocking challenge on Russell. It was a high elbow and could easily have broken his nose or done something worse.
“I think that was more them trying to get at us. There were a few late tackles because in the first game Charlie Mulgrew strolled it.
“He was flicking balls over people’s heads and he was playing nice and easy.
“They didn’t like that so they tried in the second game to come out with more purpose and get in our faces and make a few late tackles. I’m sure Roy Keane (the Ireland assistant manager) would have loved that.”
The Ireland players appeared determined to antagonise Brown at every opportunity.
He said: “I always enjoy a little bit of babble on the park. It was quite interesting, quite intriguing and I enjoyed it. I didn’t give any, to be fair. Quite a lot of them were giving it to me. I always get a little bit in a game, especially on these occasions.
“We got the upper hand in the first game and that’s what they realised they needed to do. Fair play, they tried to play to their strengths again and they tried to wind us up, but none of us took the bait.”
Ireland enjoyed the better of the chances during Saturday’s draw but Brown felt his side did more than enough to merit a share of the spoils.
He added: “It was them kicking it long and us trying to pass it, so it was really end to end. They play to their strengths and that’s what works for them.
“We’ve got our strengths but we don’t have a lot of height in the team. We try to find space and find pockets. We’re a small team but have a great attitude and great work-rate.
“There’s still a lot to play for. They’re only two points behind us and there are still a few points to go but we’re going in the right direction.”