Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland enjoyed success in their respective Euro 2016 qualifying matches on Saturday, while Scotland made it a clean sweep for the Home Nations with a slender 1-0 win over Georgia at Ibrox.

Northern Ireland took on one of the minnows of World Football, when they entertained the Faroe Islands. After beating Hungary away in their first game in Group F, the minimum requirement from this game was always three points to keep the side's momentum going and they achieved that aim with a comfortable 2-0 win. Their lead was established in the first half through goals from Gareth McAuley and Kyle Lafferty and though they could not add to the scoreline in the second half, the win ensured that this is their best start since 1968 to a qualifying campaign.

The results elsewhere in the group ensured that they are currently top, after draws in the other two matches played yesterday.

The Republic enjoyed an emphatic victory as many had expected over the likely whipping boys of Group D, Gibraltar, eventually running out winners 7-0 and hence matching the performance of Poland against the same opposition in their first group match. It threatens to be a long campaign for the country only recently introduced into the Euro qualifiers (they are yet to attain similar entry into the World Cup qualifiers) and another resounding defeat gives more credence to those suggesting that teams such as them, San Marino and maybe the Faroe Islands should have to go through pre-qualifying first.

Not that manager, Martin O'Neill or his fearsome second in command Roy Keane were ever taking the match lightly, as they have not always enjoyed dominance against lower ranked opponents in the past. Perhaps it is a sign of their improved preparation that this result was never in any doubt once all time top goalscorer Robbie Keane had bagged a rapid first half hat-trick for the Irish.

The second half was just as convincing, as James McClean added a brace of goals, Gibraltar's keeper Jordan Perez's scored an unfortunate own goal, and Wes Hoolahan finished the scoring on the day as his fine performance had deserved just before the hour mark. There were no more goals, but perhaps the Irish were already beginning to look ahead to the far more taxing fixture looming on Tuesday, when they travel to take on the World Cup holders, Germany.

Scotland also enjoyed victory in the same group as the Republic and while always looking in command against Georgia, the slender one goal advantage that they held from the 27th minute when Akaki Khubutiato scored an own goal always left the potential for a late equaliser. Thankfully it never came but they now face the dangerous Polish away from home on Tuesday. It looks like a key game in the group for them even at this early stage, as they seem their first qualification for a major international tournament since 1998.

The overall qualification picture in Group D was blurred somewhat by the surprise defeat of the World champions, Germany at the hands of Poland by two goals to nil in Warsaw. The Germans usually sail through the qualifying stages for tournaments and had gone 33 matches without defeat in such. Yet although they had the bulk of the play against their eventual conquerors, it was the Poles who came out on top to take their first win over them. Arkadiusz Milik's header on 51 minutes had given Poland an unexpected lead, before Lukas Podolski came off the bench to volley against their crossbar. The result was confirmed when Sebastian Mila added the second in the 88th minute. Although one would expect the Germans to recover from this setback and still look favourites to ultimately get out of the group, they are a team going through some signs of transition post their World Cup success. They may as a result have to endure more evenings like this in such a competitive group, with Poland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland all harbouring genuine aspirations of qualification for France in 2016.