Scotland v Ireland Preview
Scotland host Republic of Ireland in the first competitive fixture between these two sides in twenty seven years, and based on previous games between the two sides, you should probably be prepared for a low scoring affair. However, the majority of players on show at Celtic park weren’t born the last time these two Celtic side met, so make of that what you wish.
There has been some controversy regarding ticket allocation for the travelling Irish fans for this game, having been allocated a meagre 3,000 tickets, but I doubt it will damped the spirits of the away side who have performed well so far in this campaign with two wins and an impressive and unexpected draw away at World Champions Germany. The hosts themselves took their game against Germany to the wire too, eventually succumbing 2-1. A win for the home side today though, will see them level with Ireland in what is shaping up to be a very interesting and closely fought group.
The hosts are without Alan Hutton and Phil Bardsley (who was injured in Stoke’s 2-1 win at White Hart Lane at the weekend). Shane Long and Robbie Keane will both be hoping to start this game, although manager Martin O’Neill might pick just one, depending on the tactical approach he decides to take. Away from home, Ireland may be content with a point, but given the way the league is shaping up, I think only a win will do, so you could expect both strikers to start in an attack-minded line up. With just two teams guaranteed a placed at the 2016 Championships in France, and with Germany and Poland expected to fill these berths, Ireland need to get maximum points against Scotland, Georgia and Gibraltar to stake a claim for an automatic qualifying position.
Jack Ball has assured us he will have a tip for this game, so be sure to keep an eye on his profile page HERE. You can access it for free, so it’s worth checking out (especially given his recent form).