CYRUS CHRISTIE claims Republic of Ireland’s ‘big-game pedigree’ will be a crucial factor as they look to claim a World Cup play-off place in the next few days.

Martin O’Neill’s side host Moldova tomorrow knowing they almost certainly have to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for next summer’s finals in Russia alive.

Even then, if Wales win in Georgia, they will head to Cardiff on Monday needing to secure another victory to claim second position in Group D.

Gareth Bale’s absence for both of Wales’ matches is a key factor in their favour, and Middlesbrough full-back Christie also points to Ireland’s recent experience of succeeding in ‘must-win games’ as an important source of inspiration.

The Irish beat Germany in Dublin two years ago when their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016 looked to have been extinguished, and recorded a surprise win over Italy in the finals of that tournament in France to qualify for the knock-out stage.

“Straight away after the Serbia game (last month), it was mentioned that we have gone into big games and we have pulled it off,” said Christie, who joined Boro from Derby County in the summer. “You look at Germany, or you look at the Italy game.

“We have been in these situations before, and we can thrive in these kind of situations. We have got two games now, and it is kind of do or die.

“But we won’t look at it like that. We’ll go into the game (against Moldova) and play our game, and hopefully come out with three points, and that’s the end of it.”

Christie is set to start both of this week’s games, with Ireland’s first-choice right-back, Seamus Coleman, unavailable because of a broken leg.

The 24-year-old is in fine form, having been a regular in Boro’s Championship line-up this season, and is confident of doing himself justice, even if he fully expects to revert to his role of deputy once Coleman returns.

“We’re two different players, although we do have similar attributes,” he said. “It is a tough role to fill, but I feel I’m doing okay, learning and growing.

“When he broke his leg, I was in shock. As much as it’s a team game, it’s also an individual one, but that wasn’t my thinking at all. For me, for the lads, we’d lost a big part of the squad. You need your main players, your key players, and he is one of them and he is a big loss.

“I’m coming here, and more than likely going to be playing, but once Seamus is back, he will be back in. I’m not going to shy away from that.

“I know I’ve come in as a second choice and understudy to Seamus, because he is playing at the highest level. For me to be taking that spot, I need to be playing at that level. I come here, and I can learn off Seamus and push him all the way.”

Christie is one of two Boro players in the Irish squad, with goalkeeper Darren Randolph also an integral part of O’Neill’s plans.