Stephen Hunt believes the Republic of Ireland's "tasty" encounter with Scotland was the ideal preparation for their crucial clash in Macedonia.
The Irish claimed the inaugural Carling Nations Cup in Dublin on Sunday night when Robbie Keane grabbed the only goal of the game against the Scots. The 1-0 victory means the host nation came through the tournament with a 100% record, without conceding a goal.
But Hunt says the challenge provided by Craig Levein's men sets the Republic up perfectly for this weekend's Euro 2012 qualifier. The Wolves winger said: "It's a massive game for us. The first half of this game was tasty and then they came at us in the second half and we had to defend."
He added: "It was the last game of the season and, to be fair to them, they came here and had a go at us. Scotland were maybe a bit unlucky not to get a goal but we are a good team.
"We went 1-0 up and we were well structured and defended well. To be fair to them, they had a go in the second half and it was a good, competitive game.
"This wasn't like Northern Ireland last week, this was a competitive game and they've got some good players. It was a difficult game but we were happy to be out there competing."
Hunt was involved in an altercation with Scotland midfielder Scott Brown but played down the clash afterwards.
He said: "If it's not competitive, you should be asking yourself some questions. It was handbags and we got on with it. We had a bit of banter about it actually. It was a just a bit craic, we shook hands and that was that."
Keane's strike was his 49th international goal, equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's record, and Hunt added: "He got another goal so it's happy days for him.
"I think he has led us well this week in terms of what has been going on off the pitch. All credit to him. The lads who are here deserve great credit and it has brought us closer together."
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