Hot off the heels of Scotland’s superb 3-0 Nations League victory over Ukraine on Wednesday, Steve Clarke’s side host the Republic of Ireland at Hampden on Saturday.
John McGinn and a double from Lyndon Dykes off the bench gave the Scots one of their most impressive victories in recent history, pushing them to the top of Group B1.
Ireland, meanwhile, have yet to play during this international period, but while they are on four points, they still harbour an outside chance of winning the pool and certainty have work to do to ensure they are not relegated.
Will Scotland gain revenge for an embarrassing 3-0 loss in Dublin in June, or will the Boys In Green come out on top again?
Scotland v Republic of Ireland Bet Builder Tips
Both Teams to Score – No
Historically, this is not a fixture that produces many goals, and certainly Ireland’s recent form hints that this is a game that will follow along the same lines. In the last eight games between these nations, only two have seen both sides find the target.
Meanwhile, Ireland simply aren’t scoring many goals themselves. They profited from a poor Scotland performance to strike three times in Dublin, but that is thoroughly out of character. Besides that game, they have only scored twice in four matches, including 1-0 losses against Armenia and Ukraine previously in the Nations League.
Scotland, on the other hand, have seen three of their four Nations League matches end with only one team scoring. Furthermore, they have yet to concede a goal at Hampden in this qualifying campaign.
It is also worth considering that Scotland are unlikely to go all-out to win this match. If there is no scoring as the game approaches its closing stages, they are likely to accept a point because two draws will see them top the group. This could, therefore, be a slightly more conservative performance from the hosts than was on display against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, if the home side manage to hit the heights they managed in midweek, they are unlikely to give up many chances to their guests in any case.
A low-scoring match looks probable, but with the odds on Under 2.5 goals very short, there is better value to be found here.
John McGinn to have 1+ Shot on Target
After this tip came up in Wednesday’s Ukraine game, it is impossible to overlook Saturday’s tussle. The way that McGinn is used by Steve Clarke, effectively as an attacking midfielder who is given licence to play alongside a No.9, means that he is a major goal threat at all times.
He’s now up to 14 goals in 49 internationals and, whether Che Adams or Lyndon Dykes is preferred to start in the No.9 role, he will have a major part to play in Scotland’s attacking work.
This was underlined against Ukraine when he attempted a game-high six shots. Two of these were blocked and three were off target, but he has shown himself willing to try his luck. Indeed, he has now had a shot on target in five of Scotland’s last seven matches, while in competitive fixtures he has worked as the opposition goalkeeper in seven of the last nine.
McGinn is a player who is likely to be left on the field if Scotland are chasing the game, and it is only if the match seems to have swung decisively one way or the other will he be withdrawn.
Scott McKenna to be Shown a Card
Scotland came out of their midweek match with a clean bill of disciplinary health. While Ukraine saw five bookings, Clarke’s men did not pick up one. This was a reflection of their dominance of that match, and that is unlikely to be repeated against an Ireland side that will be high in energy and eager to put themselves around the field.
Clarke notably played with a back four on Wednesday, which is a significant switch in formation. It proved successful but it would not be surprising to see some errors creep into the defence if put under more scrutiny. Certainly, with Scotland now playing a higher defensive line, any foul made, particularly by a centre-back, is likely to have a higher tariff of punishment.
McKenna is the likeliest player to find his way into the referee’s notebook. He has been cautioned twice in his previous nine Nations League matches and another booking here would crucially not keep him out of the looming Ukraine match. A tactical caution should not be discounted, then, for a man with three bookings to his name in three Premier League matches with Nottingham Forest this season.
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Scotland predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Gordon; Hickey, McKenna, Hendry, Tierney; McGregor, McTominay; Armstrong, McGinn, Christie; Dykes
Republic of Ireland predicted XI (3-5-2): Bazunu; O’Shea, Collins, Egan; Doherty, Cullen, Molumby, Knight, McClean; Hogan, Parrott
* All odds displayed correct at the time of publishing *
How to watch Scotland v Republic of Ireland in the Nations League?
📅 When is Scotland v Republic of Ireland? / Saturday, 24th September 2022, 7:45PM
🏟 Where is Scotland v Republic of Ireland? / Hampden Park (Glasgow)
📺 What TV channel is Scotland v Republic of Ireland on? / Premier Sports 1
🟨 …And who is the referee for Scotland v Republic of Ireland? / S. Scharer 🇨🇭