Scotland vs Republic of Ireland – Match preview and team news

Scotland and the Republic of Ireland will both be hoping to maintain strong starts to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign when they meet on Friday evening at Parkhead.

The home side need the win more, as they sit three points behind their opponents in the Group D table going into this match. During the last international week, manager Gordon Strachan was glowing in his praise at the slick football on display from his team as they defeated Georgia by the odd goal and were then involved in a classic in Warsaw.

That 2-2 draw against Poland was more proof of how far the Tartan Army have come under Strachan’s stewardship, as they went behind early on but eventually came to within 14 minutes of a terrific victory.

For Ireland, things could not have been more routine as they saw off minnows Gibraltar by a seven-goal margin in October, but three days later things got much more serious as they took on world champions Germany, who were disjointed throughout but looked set for victory through Toni Kroos.

However, an Irish side that had rarely looked like scoring found an unlikely hero in the shape of veteran defender John O’Shea, who guided home a fine finish which has them level at the top of the group, and also a point which could go a long way towards qualification.

Robert Snodgrass is still injured and is not part of the Scotland squad along with James McArthur, while the absence of Phil Bardsley and Alan Hutton means that Steven Whitaker is set to start at right-back.

The visitors have something of a crisis in central midfield, with Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy both unavailable. Striker Kevin Doyle is also out.

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