Burnley’s Robbie Brady was on target to make sure of the Republic of Ireland’s laboured win over Gibraltar.

The winger headed home James McClean’s cross deep into stoppage time as Mick McCarthy’s men cemented their spot at the top of Euro 2020 qualifying Group D with a 2-0 victory.

The goal was Brady’s eighth for his country and his first in 17 international appearances since a friendly against Oman in August 2016.

He had come on as a 73rd-minute replacement for Preston’s Callum Robinson in Dublin having made just 17 appearances for the Clarets last season due to injury and the emergence of Dwight McNeil.

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"I'm delighted to come on and make a difference,” Brady told Sky Sports post-match. “It's been a while since I scored. Obviously I was disappointed not to start.

"It's been a frustrating year. Hopefully it'll be a good one next year

"Gibraltar are a totally different team to the one we faced in the last campaign, they're more compact and organised.

“They made it difficult at times but didn't cause us too many problems.

"We could have taken a bit more care and scored a few more. We definitely need to tidy up in the next games if we want to push on."

McCarthy refused to be downhearted by the performance at the Aviva Stadium as Ireland took their points tally from their opening four fixtures to 10.

The boss freely admitted the performance had not been as effective as he might have hoped, but the end result was exactly what he had been looking for.

"When I took the job on December 1 and when the Euro draw and the fixtures came out, my target, 10 points was what I thought,” McCarthy said.

"I would have taken 10 points, everybody else in here, Irish journalists, fans, would have taken 10 points however we were going to get them.

"We played better against Georgia, we played better against Denmark. We have had two horrible games against Gibraltar, but we've dispatched them both and - as far as I'm concerned - we beat them in both, so six points from the two games."

The win leaves the Republic five points clear of Denmark, who routed Georgia 5-1 in Copenhagen and have a game in hand, at the top of the group with Switzerland a further point behind with just two matches under their belt.

However, McCarthy, knows his team will have to be significantly better if they are to remain in the race for qualification when the tougher tests arrive next season with a double-header against the Swiss and a tricky trip to Tbilisi to come before the Danes arrive in Dublin to bring down the curtain on the campaign.

He said: "We played pretty poorly against Gibraltar twice, and beat them.

"Against the better sides, who don't want to sit in and want to play, we've had two really good performances, so I doubt Switzerland will come and play like they did, it will be a more open game.

"And we played well in those two games so I'd expect to us to play against Switzerland like we did against Georgia and Denmark."