Middlesbrough stopper Darren Randolph earns plaudits after stunning international display

Middlesbrough stopper Darren Randolph impressed for Northern Ireland
Middlesbrough stopper Darren Randolph impressed for Northern Ireland

Darren Randolph drew praise from all quarters after a standout display as the Republic of Ireland drew 0-0 with neighbours Northern Ireland.

Ex-Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill opted to switch to a 3-5-2 formation for the friendly clash, but the tactical change failed to have the desired effect as the Republic were pinned back for large parts of the game.

And indeed, they were indebted to Randolph after the Middlesbrough man made a string of fine saves to keep Northern Ireland at bay in the goalless draw.

Randolph denied Gavin Whyte, Stuart Dallas and Jordan Jones in a fine performance which earned plaudits from both managers.

But while O'Neill was keen to praise his stopper, he blasted the nation for their 'sloppiness' when going forward and apologised to supporters after a disappointed display.

"We didn't do enough going forward and through a lot of sloppiness ourselves we nearly gave a couple of goals away," he said.

"Randolph made a couple of good saves but certainly in terms of going forward we should do better.

"I'm not too worried about them putting on a performance for me, I'm the manager and it's my responsibility so any bad passes made they eventually are down to me, but overall it's disappointing for our supporters.

"They've paid money and we should do better and be able to create more."

His opposite number, Michael O'Neill, was also left impressed by Randolph but felt his side did enough to win the game - despite the inspired performance from the Boro man.

"I thought we should have won the game," he admitted.

"We did have to do some defending, but it was mainly set-pieces and free-kicks we gave away around the box. In terms of possession of the ball and chances created we should have won the game.

"We have to commend Darren Randolph, he had a great night and made important saves at key moments in the game.

"Overall I'm pleased with the performance. Again the pattern is similar to games we've played in the Nations League, we were dominant, very dominant but we didn't take the chances, but we created a lot."