We’re into the meat and bones of the Nations League now and we have a superb looking British Isles derby to get stuck into from League B, Group 1. Steve Clarke’s Scotland host Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park. The match is being shown live on Premier Sports 1 in the UK and RTE in Ireland. We’ve previewed the game and provided you with our best two bets for the occasion.
Scotland vs. Ireland Tips
- Scotland to win – 21/20
- #PickYourPunt – Scotland to win, Under 2.5 goals and Josh Cullen to be carded – 8/1
Firstly, an apology. I owe Clarke, the Tartan Army and the entire nation of Scotland an apology, after my dismissal of them before the Ukraine game on Wednesday night.
The Scots were simply superb, battering the Eastern European side 3-0 and mustering 24 shots in total to Ukraine’s three. Goals from John McGinn and a late brace from substitute Lyndon Dykes took Clarke’s men top of the group and has given them a genuine chance to reach the elite groups next season.
To do that, they need to keep on winning and next up is Kenny’s Ireland. The Boys in Green sit 3rd in the group and have had a torrid time in the Nations League in general. Of the 14 games they have played in the competition, they have won just once, coincidentally against this weekend’s opposition. Ireland were excellent at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin back in June and shocked the Scots when demolishing them 3-0. Will it be repeat or revenge on Saturday? Let’s find out…
Clarke will be missing Nathan Patterson after he was stretchered off during the first half of the Ukraine win. He will likely be replaced by Aaron Hickey. Dykes may be given a go from the start after his heroics in midweek in place of Che Adams.
Keeper Caoimhin Kelleher and defender Darragh Lenihan are unavailable through injury and Gavin Bazunu and John Egan should take up their respective positions.
Scotland to win – 21/20
“I won’t get fooled again…”. I’m channelling my inner Roger Daltrey on this one and not making the same mistake as in midweek. The Scots are just over Evens at 21/20, Ireland are 16/5 outsiders, with the draw at 21/10.
Obviously Scotland had a shocking result in Dublin last time out, but I think that was a bit of a freak result. Ireland have been poor for some time now and their win against the Tartan Army was an outlier in what has been a bad couple of years under Stephen Kenny.
On the back of the magnificent Ukraine result, Clarke’s men will be absolutely buzzing and the carrot of playing in the top group next time round should get them over the line.
#PickYourPunt – Scotland to win, Under 2.5 goals and Josh Cullen to be carded – 8/1
I’ve combined three picks for a 8/1 #PickYourPunt treble with the Scotland win joining under 2.5 goals and Josh Cullen to be carded.
If we discount the 3-0 drubbing in Dublin, the last four match ups between these two sides have all ended in under 2.5 goals landing. I can see this one being a tense, tight affair and will be siding with the unders.
One man who has played superb in the Championship this year is Burnley midfielder Josh Cullen. The 26-year-old ex-West Ham youth has looked great alongside Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill for Vincent Kompany’s men but has been on the wrong side of the line in terms of aggression at times.
Cullen has two yellow cards in the Championship to go with his two in World Cup qualification and one in the Nations League. He’s up against the likes of Scott McTominay and John McGinn on Saturday so expect some big challenges in the engine room.