August 12, 2022

1 minute: And we are going to Ireland. Jason Knight appears to have slipped into midfield, then loses the ball and slams into Scott McTominay, who appears to be in serious pain. Sounds mean, her ankle seemed to be spinning.

Flower of Scotland sounds, followed by Amhrán na bhFiann. Loud roars follow the two.

Players emerge in a sold-out Aviva stadium, the tartan army traveled in numbers. The Premier Sports commentator talks about ‘kilts swimming through the streets of Dublin’. A lasting image.

Steve Clarke speaks to Premier Sports.

It’s just a matter of getting back on the bike and going again. Now we are looking forward to another tough match, there should be a good atmosphere and both teams should feed off of it. [On team selection] Normal rotation, and try to have some continuity. Ee has developed a strong team. [Ireland] are going to work hard and put you under pressure, a tough game.

Stephen Kenny speaks to Premier Sports.

It’s such a quick turnaround, we’ve updated with all five changes. We are disappointed, we were on a good streak, a loss in 12, and we managed to lose both games without conceding a chance in either game. We had a lot of play but we didn’t use possession. It’s a big test, we know Scotland had a great time with a lot of players playing at the top of the Premier League. If we were to beat Scotland it would be the biggest result here at this stadium in seven years. We’re up against it, Scotland have a terrific roster and we have to be the best.

In his interview with RTE, he takes up much the same line as the last team, other than Qatar, that the Irish beat which was higher than them in the Fifa rankings was Bosnia seven years ago.

To crown this second-rate groupScotland will have to beat Ukraine, who beat Armenia this afternoon in their home game in Poland.

🇺🇦 Ukraine continue their perfect run with an impressive 3-0 win over Armenia 💯#NationsLeague

— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 11, 2022

How did it go the last time for these two teams?

Not good for Ireland.

Better for Scotland.

What does that mean? James McClean gets his 93rd cap, which surely means he’s aiming for 100 caps. The Bossman made sweeping changes, with a young offensive lineup consisting of Troy Parrott, Michael Obafemi and Jason Knight. Jason Molumby, now from West Brom after his loan spell there from Brighton, enters midfield. For Scotland, Grant Hanley and Scott McTominay replace John Souttar and Stuart Armstrong, ahead of Billy Gilmour. A look on social media suggests it’s not a popular selection, although Gilmour’s fitness may be a bit lacking.

Either way, Grant Hanley gives us the opportunity to retool this classic from Birkenhead’s finest.

Everyone takes Grant Hanley’s position…

Here are the teams

Scotland: Gordon, Hendry, Hanley, McKenna, Ralston, McTominay, McGregor, Robertson, McGinn, Christie, Adams. Subtitles: McCrorie, Kelly, Patterson, Souttar, Stewart, Gilmour, Taylor, Armstrong, Turnbull, Brown, Campbell, Hickey.

Ireland: Kelleher, N. Collins, Duffy, Egan, McClean, Browne, Cullen, Molumby, Parrott, Obafemi, Knight. Subtitles: O’Leary, Travers, Christie, Stevens, Robinson, Hourihane, Keane, Hendrick, O’Shea, Hogan, Hamilton, Lenihan.

Starting XI | Republic of Ireland v Scotland

Five squad changes as Michael Obafemi gets his first Ireland start 🇮🇪

Troy Parrott also enters the squad and Jayson Molumby enters midfield 👍#COYBIG • #We are a

— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) June 11, 2022


Damn, football is still on. The League of Nations continues with this battle of Celtic soul brothers, and there is a bit of importance on this, namely the credibility of Stephen Kenny, the manager of Ireland, the Bossman Steo for those in the know, the Lossman Steo for those who are beginning to think that Irish football’s cultural revolution has stalled. Losing to the Ukrainian second team on Wednesday wasn’t much fun, nor was the defeat in Armenia that preceded it. Scoring goals is a sincere issue, as is creativity in midfield. And there are those who wonder why people like Cyrus Christie and James McClean are still in need.

At present there is much less pressure on Caledonian coach Steve Clarke, but Scotland are licking their wounds after their own loss to Ukraine in this play-off for a costing them a place in Qatar in November. A semblance of pride was saved by the midweek win over Armenia.

The last time these teams met was in 2015, a 1-1 draw in Dublin, and it was a terrible game. Despite their geographical proximity, they have only met eleven times, with four wins each. Two teams with similar ambitions, similar problems but Scotland having been rather more successful lately.

Oh yes, and there are Nations League points on the table in Group E, where Scotland top the table. Ireland still haven’t won a single Nations League game in their three iterations so far. Oh Steve.

Kick-off is at 5 p.m. Meet me.