Robbie Keane is confident the Republic of Ireland have answered their critics after bouncing back from their debacle against Germany.
On October 12 last year, the Republic were ripped to shreds by the Group C leaders as they stormed to a 6-1 victory at the Aviva Stadium. That humiliation nearly cost manager Giovanni Trapattoni his job, but the ensuing nine months have seen the Italian and his players re-group to put together a run of seven games which has brought a single defeat.
They will put that record to the test once again tonight when the Faroe Islands arrive in Dublin intent on causing an upset, but Keane believes he and his team-mates deserve credit for standing up and being counted in the face of adversity. He said: "You have to accept criticism sometimes and it's how you deal with it."
Keane continued: "You can either crumble in a corner and hide and cry about it, or you can be a man and stand up for yourself and do the best you can for the team, and that's been the case from every player. Results speak for themselves, don't they? The performance of the players has been very, very good. We haven't lost too many games since that.
"When you're winning games, everything is good. When you lose a game, the most important thing is to try to bounce back as quickly as possible and get a positive result, and that certainly has been the case.
"The evidence of this week, it's been a very, very good 10 days, 15 days or whatever it is we have been together. That's all about results. But if we don't win, that means nothing."
Keane will establish a new appearance record for Ireland when he wins his 126th cap, and he will be desperate to add to his 56 international goals on a night when victory is a must.
The LA Galaxy frontman went 10 games without a goal from open play for his country before the double he scored against Georgia on Sunday, and found himself in the firing line as a result. However, he insists he never allowed the criticism to get to him. Keane said: "It's not something I worry too much about, to be totally honest.
"As a football player, all you have to do if you do get criticised is do your talking on the pitch, and the way you do that is by scoring goals and turning up for your country when other people don't turn up and don't want to play for their country, and having that will to want to do everything you can for the country.
"If people want to criticise me for wanting to play for my country, then I don't think I've got the problem."