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Mikey Johnston has warned the Netherlands not to underestimate the Republic of Ireland as the Dutch attempt to book their place at the finals of Euro 2024.

Barring an unlikely sequence of events which would hand Ireland a play-off place, they will not be in Germany next summer, but the Netherlands will be if they can take maximum points from their remaining Group B fixtures against Stephen Kenny’s men and Gibraltar next month.

Monday night’s last-gasp 1-0 win in Greece as the Republic beat Gibraltar 4-0 in Faro left the Netherlands in pole position to claim second place behind France, but Celtic winger Johnston, who was on the scoresheet along with Evan Ferguson, Matt Doherty and Callum Robinson, is determined to end a disappointing campaign on a high.

Asked if he saw the trip to Amsterdam as a chance to bloody the nose of one of European football’s big guns, who won 2-1 in Dublin last month, the 24-year-old said: “I think we have shown we can do that.

“Obviously the results haven’t gone our way, but we went toe-to-toe with them and it’s just fine margins.

“At either end in the box, we’ve not been good enough at times, conceding goals we shouldn’t have and maybe we’ve not taken our chances as well.

“This group has given everything to qualify and that’s all we can ask.”

Ireland always knew they had a tough task to get out of the group when they were drawn against both the Dutch and World Cup runners-up France.

But defeat by the Greeks in Athens in their second fixture left them up against it and they will head into their final fixture with only six points banked from the first seven, all of them against whipping boys Gibraltar.

That return has left manager Kenny facing a review next month which might well have been brought forward despite assurances to the contrary had things gone badly at the Estadio Algarve, and few commentators expect him to remain in his role.

Asked to assess the campaign, Johnston said: “Obviously it’s disappointing that we haven’t qualified. Our group is obviously tough, but we are not making excuses, we still believed we could qualify from the group.”

Republic of Ireland v Greece – UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifying – Group B – Aviva Stadium
Stephen Kenny’s future as Republic of Ireland manager is in the air (Liam McBurney/PA)

Whether or not Kenny is involved in the international set-up beyond November remains to be seen, but Johnston will hope his efforts to date in the green shirt will lead to further caps.

His six appearances so far – the last of them a first start – have yielded two goals and an exciting brand of football which has at times been missing from Kenny’s team despite the manager’s attempts to adopt a more progressive approach.

Johnston spent last season on loan at Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal, but has missed the start of the new campaign back at Celtic after suffering a stress fracture in his back, and he is now looking to catch the eye of club boss Brendan Rodgers.

He said: “I’m just trying to work my way behind the scenes to get my opportunity. The manager has got tough decisions to make. He has got wingers that he has brought in for a few million and whatever, so it’s up to me to get into the team.”

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