Keane proud to reach milestone

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Robbie Keane fulfilled Niall Quinn's prediction when he completed a half-century of international goals in Macedonia on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland skipper struck for the 50th time for his country after just eight minutes and then added a second with 37 minutes played at the Philip II Stadium in Skopje to ease his side to a vital Euro 2012 victory and exorcise the ghosts of their previous two visits.

In the process, he became the first player from Britain or Ireland to achieve the feat, moving two ahead of Sir Bobby Charlton. Keane said: "I am obviously delighted to be associated with some of the names which are there. I am very delighted and very proud to be amongst that elite."

He added: "But for me, it's all about the team and how the team performs. It's all about getting three points, and we did that."

Asked if he ever dreamt of scoring 50 goals when he set out on his senior international career as a 17-year-old, Keane replied: "I think it would be very naive for anyone to think that.

"You can set your stall out to reach certain goals, and my goal was to reach Niall Quinn's record [of 21].

"I reached that and then you look to another one, so I am obviously delighted that I did that.

"When I first came into the Ireland squad, Niall Quinn said to me I would get 50 goals, so it's probably down to him!"

Keane's heroics came in an explosive first-half which saw Macedonia midfielder Ivan Trickovski crash a 40th-minute penalty against Shay Given's crossbar, although Ireland eased their way over the finishing line in relative comfort after the break.

The win left Giovanni Trapattoni's men locked together with Russia and Slovakia, who also collected three points on Saturday night, at the top of Group B ahead of September clashes with both.

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Robbie Keane
League One
Shay Given
Bobby Charlton
Charlton Athletic

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