Mixed fortunes for John McGinn and Conor Hourihane on international stage

Villa team-mates John McGinn and Conor Hourihane experienced wildly contrasting emotions on a night of Euro 2020 play-off semi-final drama.

While there was joy for McGinn and Scotland as they beat Israel on penalties, there was agony for Hourihane and the Republic of Ireland after they were beaten in a shoot-out by Slovakia.

Both Villa players scored with their efforts from the spot but failures from Preston’s Alan Browne and former Wolves ace Matt Doherty saw the Irish miss out on another major tournament after their match in Bratislava finished 0-0 after extra-time.

McGinn and Scotland now head to Serbia for a play-off final next month having triumphing 5-3 in their shoot-out, after the showdown with Israel at Hampden also ended goal-less.

"It was a horrible game, a nervy one but we’ll take it,” said McGinn, who rolled the first penalty of the shoot-out under goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.

"It's really tough for everyone in Scotland right now and hopefully that's given them a lift."

"We've still got a lot to work on. We're not naive enough to think it was a great performance.

"But these games are nervy and there's a lot of pressure on you.

"We've now given ourselves a chance to get this country to a major tournament which has been far too long, and hopefully we can be the group of players to do that

"We could have easily crumbled but we were so determined to get over the line and credit to (goalkeeper) David Marshall, he came up with a big save to get us through."

Hourihane saw an effort cleared off the line late in normal time as Ireland could not find the winner their performance in Slovakia deserved.

Republic of Ireland players appear dejected

Browne also saw a hat-trick of chances go begging, even hitting the post during the first period of extra-time.

Hourihane scored Ireland's first penalty of the shoot-out, thumping his effort down the middle of the goal. But with Slovakia 3-2 ahead, Browne's effort was kept out by Marek Rodak before Doherty blasted his spot-kick against the bar.

“I’m really disappointed for the players because they didn’t deserve to lose,” said Ireland boss Stephen Kenny. “I couldn’t ask any more from them. They really showed great qualities as Irishmen.

"They showed themselves to be a real team. It shows we have got good players.”

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