• John O'Shea own goal denies Republic of Ireland a crucial win
• Jon Walters puts hosts ahead before defender deflects into own net
• Scotland stay two points ahead of fourth-placed Irish in Group D
• Next games: Gibraltar v Republic of Ireland, Georgia v Scotland (4 September)
Scotland rescued a draw in Dublin to hold off the Republic of Ireland in Group D and keep themselves well in contention for a UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying slot.
Going into the game two points clear of the hosts, Gordon Strachan's men found themselves behind seven minutes before the interval as Jon Walters delighted the raucous home crowd by firing in from close range. The Scots were level two minutes after the restart when Shaun Maloney's shot deflected into the corner off the body of John O'Shea, leaving Ireland fourth in the section though still well in touch.
Set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, Ireland played in a positive manner as they knew the three points would provide a huge boost to their qualification prospects for next summer's finals. Even so, Scotland were first to state their intent when Steven Naismith drilled wide on four minutes before Steven Fletcher tested the reflexes of goalkeeper Shay Given with a long-range drive.
Ireland's first attempt flew wide on 16 minutes but at least midfielder Glenn Whelan was trying to lead by example. The same player then crossed for Daryl Murphy to cause panic with a looping header that Scotland keeper David Marshall tipped over. From the resulting corner, Murphy forced Marshall into a save yet the ball fell into the path of Walters and he blasted home to give Ireland the advantage.
However, Scotland were able to bounce back early in the second period as Maloney exchanged passes with substitute Ikechi Anya and curled a shot which was destined to go wide until it hit O'Shea and looped past Given into the net. It was all level and the atmosphere moved up a notch. Murphy almost wrested control back for the Republic with a low strike, Marshall pulling off an excellent stop with his feet to deny the forward. At the other end Given had to be alert to palm down a deflected cross from Anya as Scotland went on the attack.
The introduction of record goalscorer Robbie Keane added an extra dimension to Ireland's play and he registered a shot at Marshall on 75 minutes. Yet even Keane could not provide the goal that the Irish craved so much. Manager Martin O'Neill will now turn his focus towards September when the Republic travel to Gibraltar before hosting Georgia.