5 talking points as Republic of Ireland and Scotland clash in Dublin


The Republic of Ireland and Scotland face off in Dublin on Saturday night in the Nations League.

Ireland will be short after losing their opening two Group B1 fixtures to Armenia and Ukraine, while the Scots arrive at the Aviva Stadium following Wednesday night’s victory over the Armenians.

Here, the PA News Agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding the game.

Lucky thirteenth time?

Ireland take the field against Scotland after failing to register a single victory in their 12 Nations League outings.

A return of five draws and seven defeats under Martin O’Neill and current boss Stephen Kenny, who has won just two of the 17 competitive matches he has taken charge of, doesn’t tell the whole story, but they only scored two goals. in the process and that is a damning statistic.

Defensive dilemma

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has some decisions to make ahead of the game in Dublin (Andrew Milligan/PA)

After Scotland lost their World Cup play-off semi-final to Ukraine at Hampden Park last week, boss Steve Clarke has made six changes for visiting Armenia.

Only captain Andy Robertson retained his place among the five defenders, Aaron Hickey, Scott McTominay, Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper dropping out and Anthony Ralston, John Souttar, Scott McKenna and Jack Hendry entering for the 2-0 win.

Clarke will remain with his favorite five in the back system, but eyes will be on the player swap he uses in Dublin.

Mix the package

Kenny said he will use his team’s depth to cover injuries and seek new inspiration.

Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and skipper Seamus Coleman have already left the side through injury and centre-back John Egan is a major doubt with an ankle problem.

The likes of Dara O’Shea, the uncapped Festy Ebosele, James McClean, Jayson Molumby, Alan Browne and Michael Obafemi are hoping their luck has come.

Attack options

Lyndon Dykes and Che Adams teamed up to attack Scotland against Ukraine, but it just didn’t work out as planned.

Dykes withdrew from the squad with an injury after the defeat meant Adams was the main striker against Armenia, backed by Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie, while Ross Stewart entered the knockout stages for make his international debut and Jacob Brown also got a few minutes of playing time.

But Clarke must come up with a plan to find the net in Dublin – it was defenders Ralston and McKenna who scored against Armenia.

old enemies

The teams last met in Euro 2016 qualifying and it was Scotland who came out on top, winning 1-0 at Celtic Park thanks to Shaun Maloney’s sweet strike and leaving Dublin with a 1-1 draw.

However, it was Ireland who had the last laugh when they beat world champions Germany to take advantage of Scotland’s 2-2 draw with Poland to clinch third place in the group and progress. for the final thanks to a play-off victory against Poland. Bosnia Herzegovina.


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