This was Ireland's worst performance - O'Neill

Georgia's Nika Kvekveskiri forced a save out of Darren Randolph from distance but in the final minute of the first half, Duffy saw a header saved by Makaridze after getting on the end of a Robbie Brady corner.

Ireland might have retaken the lead had Long managed to make the most of a rare opportunity when he rose unmarked to get his head to Christie's 69th-minute cross, but could only land his effort on the roof of the net.

With Serbia and Wales winning yesterday, taking just one point away from the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena has put a serious dent in the team's World Cup qualification hopes.

That famous win over Germany ultimately secured a play-off berth for Ireland as they mounted an irresistible late surge, and it seems likely that will be the best for which they can hope this time around if they do not beat Serbia.

Arter said: "I've got a job to do for the team and where we are in the group now, it's not a time for anyone to be learning".

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"We have to obviously play better and give the Serbians less room to play than we gave the Georgians tonight, particularly in the first-half".

The home side completed over 300 passes in the first half compared to Ireland's paltry 62 as O'Neill's men managed a mere 24 per cent possession throughout the 45 minutes.

"Aiden is coming into the game with confidence about himself and a confident A iden is always a decent sign".

Largely bereft of cohesion or invention for long periods, they sat back after Shane Duffy's early goal - allowing their opponents to rack up a whopping 74% possession.

"We will try to make the last game hard for Serbia".

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Seven-cap Arter, replaced by Aiden McGeady after 62 minutes, is not shy about saying that worldwide football is still a learning curve. "We have to play better, be at our best".

Pressed on whether he gets frustrated by the team's style, Kerr added: "I think it frustrates a lot of people who like to see the game played with maybe a slightly better mix but it's been very effective for Martin O'Neill".

Ananidze drilled a low, right-footed shot just wide of Randolph's net four minutes after the re-start, while Harry Arter's lobbed attempt after an hour was all Ireland mustered in a subdued opening to the second half.

O'Neill made his move with 29 minutes remaining when he replaced the Bournemouth midfielder with winger Aiden McGeady, whose two goals in Tbilisi three years ago clinched a vital Euro 2016 qualifier victory.

"It's a pity that we had some individual mistakes, especially the goal we conceded, but football without mistakes just does not happen and I am very happy with the way that my team played overall, with their effort. We're going to put heart and soul into the match and try and beat a side who probably - technically - are better than us".

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