There was disappointment for both Northern and the Republic of Ireland in last night's European Qualifying group matches, as Scotland edged the Republic 1-0 and their near neighbours succumbed 2-0 to a strong Romanian side.

Many home nations' fans had been eagerly anticipating the Group D match-up between the resurgent Scots and the Republic at a packed Celtic Park, but the game turned out to not be one for the purist with both sides favouring a more direct approach. Long balls up to the edge or into the penalty box, with the aim to take advantage of a flick on or lay-off from a main striker seemed to be the instruction from the sidelines.

Both Gordon Strachan and Martin O'Neill could not have faulted the effort that their respective players put into the game, as they closed the opposition down when not in possession and maintained a high tempo to the play.

O'Neill's only real grumble (besides the result of course) seemed to be with what he perceived as a momentary defensive lapse that led to the decisive moment of the match in the 74th minute. To the neutral that was perhaps a bit harsh on his side, as the Scots made a well-worked short corner routine that originated on the training ground pay off, as Shaun Maloney and Scott Brown managed to create some space for a shot. Brown's deft back heel sat up nicely for Maloney to curl his right foot strike into the side of the net.

It was a goal worthy of winning the game, but the Scots had to ride their luck late on as defender Grant Hanley headed against his own bar.

The win takes the Scots level on points with both group favourites and World Champions Germany, besides the Republic. All three are three points behind early pace setters Poland though, who enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 victory away to Georgia with all their goals coming in the second half as their superiority finally shone through.

Germany were less spectacular than usual against the so-called 'minnows' in the group stages, but will still be pleased to claim all three points in a 4-0 defeat of Gibraltar, including two goals from Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller. Strachan and O'Neill will still believe that qualification is possible from the group, but must pick up maximum points at home one feels to keep in touch.

Northern Ireland went into their match in Bucharest with Romania in buoyant mood after three straight Group F wins, but they suffered a set-back to their qualification hopes as their opponents were well worth their 2-0 winning margin on the night. Romania are most people's tips to head the group and now enjoy a one point advantage over the Irish at the top. The foundation for their deserved three points was built on two second-half goals for full-back Paul Papp in the 74th and 79th minutes. The Irish began confidently and Chris Brunt almost gave them an early lead, but in truth the Romanians always looked likely to score. Besides their goals, the home side saw Alexandru Chipciu hit the woodwork and another great chance for Bogdan Stancu was wasted.

The North's manager Michael O'Neill (like his namesake for the Republic) remained similarly unbowed after the defeat, with perhaps their hardest game now out of the way and the side still in a strong position. Home form looks to be the key if they are to hold on to second place in the group or do even better.

Group F also witnessed the shock of the evening, as the Faroe Islands produced the biggest win of their history in defeating former European champions, Greece, 1-0 in Athens. The loss was typical of the Greek's campaign so far, which now sees them languishing in last place with a solitary point from four matches. Joan Edmundsson, a former Newcastle United academy player, was the hero of the night with his goal just after the hour mark that was only his national side's 20th ever international win since their involvement began in 1988. It was also their first win since 2011. The Faroes still remain unlikely to have a major bearing on the likely qualifiers, but it gives hope to all the underdogs in world Football.