Ex-Preston North End striker Callum Robinson answers his critics with two-goal blast
Former Preston striker Callum Robinson ended a week of controversy with a decisive double as the Republic of Ireland won a competitive match for the first time under boss Stephen Kenny 3-0 in Azerbaijan.
Robinson hit the headlines in the run-up to the game after revealing he had chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite twice contracting the virus.
But he provided the perfect response to the criticism he received as a result with two first-half goals to set the stage for a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win in Baku.
The success at the Baki Olimpiya Stadium, which was rounded off by substitute Chiedozie Ogbene’s late header, was Ireland’s first in a meaningful fixture since they beat Gibraltar 2-0 in June 2019, some 16 attempts ago, and belatedly launched their Group A campaign after three defeats and two draws.
Kenny said: “The win was overdue and 3-0 away from home in a qualifier is rare.
“That’s one defeat in our last seven games and that was a late Portugal goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, so I feel we’re improving all the time.
“We have undergone a change in system from March onwards and it suits the players that we have. We’re learning all the time and improving in our attacking play.
“We got some criticism in the home game against Azerbaijan, but they were three great games (against Portugal, Azerbaijan and Serbia last month) and I thought we performed well at times.
“And today was good to get the goals that give us a platform.”