Nov 15, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Aviva Stadium
Rep. IrelandRepublic of Ireland
3-0
LatviaLatvia
Keane (22'), McGeady (68'), Long (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Gabovs (56'), Bulvitis (85'), Rode (91')

Martin O'Neill: 'Latvia friendly is very important'

Republic of Ireland's new football manager Martin O'Neill speaks during a press conference to announce his official appointment at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, Ireland on November 9, 2013
© Getty Images
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says that his players must take their friendly with Latvia this Friday seriously.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has said that he wants his team to treat their friendly with Latvia as a competitive match.

The 61-year-old takes charge of his first game of Ireland on Friday evening and has challenged his players to prove they deserve a place in the national side.

"I don't want the players to treat these like friendly games. I told them that last night," Sky Sports News quotes him as saying. "These are very, very important. It's a bit like I would have treated pre-season, which was all about the players getting fit.

"If I was going into a club for the first time, the first time I was meeting the players was in pre-season, then pre-season became very important.

"They became big games because I have to make judgements on players. That's exactly how I see these games coming up. They may not be competitive in terms of picking up points, but they are very important."

Following Friday evening's friendly with Latvia, the Irish will face Poland in Poznan on November 19.

New announced Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane speak during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Real Sociedad de Futbol and Manchester United at Estadio Anoeta on November 5, 2013
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