Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Republic of Ireland V Scotland
Saturday 13th June. 5PM. Sky Sports 1
It’s the final set of Euro 2016 qualifiers in 2014/15 and Group D is perfectly poised as the Republic of Ireland and Scotland do battle in what is a monstrous Celtic derby.
Both sides are in with a genuine shout of reaching next summer’s tournament in France but, with Poland and Germany also going strong, the loser could drop out of the race. Winning is the only option in Dublin, which should make for an incredible battle at the Aviva.
Prepare yourselves for a thriller.
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Can Irish Strike It Lucky?
Last week’s dour draw with England might have been an awful spectacle, but it did extend the Green’s recent spell to just one defeat in eight. Sadly, that one loss did come at Celtic Park.
Nevertheless, with eight points on the board, a home win here would drag Martin O’Neill’s men right back into contention for a play-off spot at the very least. With Robbie Keane back in the mix, they might just fancy their chances.
In addition to their top striker, Ireland can call upon the likes of Jonathan Walters and Shane Long to put in a shift whilst the likes of Robbie Brady and John O’Shea will be looking to build upon last week’s strong defensive display against England. If they can keep it tight at the back, one goal might be enough to resurrect their hopes of a place at Euro 2016.
This is a cup final for Ireland, expect the Aviva to be rocking.
Tartan Army Ready For War
Like the hosts, Gordon Strachan’s men were involved in a tedious match last week. The difference is, Scotland still won their contest. Admittedly, it was against Qatar but a run of four wins from five will inspire confidence heading into this hugely important battle.
That spell started with the 1-0 home win over Ireland, which has also got to be good for motivation, and the perceived lack of goals hasn’t stopped the Tartan Army from picking up some notable results over the past year or two. Many believe they will underline these vast improvements by qualifying for their first major tournament in 18 years. That just happened to be in France too – perhaps fate is written in the stars?
On the pitch, Darren Fletcher’s return to form has been an obvious bonus for the Blues. Meanwhile, fellow midfielders Charlie Adam and Scott Brown could add attacking threat if included while a rigid defence are bound to fight for every ball.
If ever Scotland needed their players to stand up to the plate, this is it. It will be thrilling to see whether they can.
Republic of Ireland V Scotland Betting Tips
With home advantage on Ireland’s side, bookmaker Bet365 have made O’Neill’s men the favourites at 11/8. However, there is a real sense that this clash could go either way and Scotland are only priced 23/10 to leave Dublin with a vital three points. The draw can be backed at 21/10.
Since Strachan took over as manager, Scotland have performed fantastically given their resources. Wins in Croatia and Poland, as well as a separate draw in Warsaw this campaign, have underlined their ability to get a result on the road and we think they can do it again here.
Only England, Germany and Belgium have beaten Scotland in the past two years. With the added support of a potential refund, we think the ‘draw no bet’ market is a definite player.
[quote_center]Scotland DNB @ 13/10 with William Hill[/quote_center]
It will be a feisty affair that could take some time to spark into life. Once it does, though, it should be a cracker.
Both teams need a win so at least one will have to attack late on. That, combined with the possibility of a red card, makes us lean towards a late goal. We’re not sure at what end, but we’re hopeful of late drama.
[quote_center]Last goal to be scored after 67:59 @ 5/6 with Bet365[/quote_center]