Sports Mole preview Saturday’s Nations League clash between the Republic of Ireland and Scotland, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Irish republic play host Scotland on Saturday night after suffering early in their back-to-back defeats UEFA Nations League Campaign.
While the home side got off to the worst possible start in Group B1, Scotland top the table after beating Armenia on Wednesday night.
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After an eight-match unbeaten streak, optimism was high in the Republic of Ireland camp ahead of a group of well-formed teams.
However, back-to-back defeats to Armenia and Ukraine without straining the scorers’ chart are gone Stephen Kenny‘s team faces the realistic possibility of being left behind at the bottom of the group.
With the second leg against group leaders Armenia on the last day of the game, the Republic of Ireland will need to find some extra gear in their remaining games against Scotland and Ukraine.
Although the latter of those nations started with a much different team on Wednesday, they more than made up for the 1-0 win and the decisive goal Victor Zykhankov just after halftime.
It is almost seven years to the day since these nations last met in Dublin, an own goal by John O’Shea gave Scotland a 1-1 away draw.
The Tartan Army are hoping to rely on their own players to score the goals on this occasion after putting together one of the best away runs in recent history.
Scotland have recorded three wins and one draw in the last four games of their trip, wins against Austria, the Faroe Islands and Moldova followed by a draw in the second game in Austria.
The disappointment of not being able to qualify for the World Cup continues Steve Clarkebut they gave the best possible response in Wednesday’s win over Armenia.
Antony Ralston and Scott McKenna both scoring goals, the pair scoring their first goals for their country and ending a three-game winning streak.
Republic of Ireland Nations League Form:
Republic of Ireland form (all competitions):
Form of the Scotland Nations League:
Form Scotland (all competitions):
Kenny is confident Seamus Coleman was able to recover from a groin injury in time to compete in this competition.
John Egg Even after the end against Ukraine, a fitness doubt is due Dara O’Shea in line to take his place in the back three.
Kenny might also feel the need to tinker with his attack Michael Obafemi who are most likely to get a chance in the middle.
Scott McTominay may be among a number of players returning to the Scottish side either in defense or central midfield.
Aaron Hickey is an option for left-back if Andrew Robertson a break is served, but Nathan Patterson remains on the bench after returning from an ankle injury.
Republic of Ireland possible starting line-up:
Basement, cellar; O’Shea, Collins, Duffy; Christie, Cullen, Hendrick, Stevens; Robinson, Obafemi, Ritter
Scotland possible starting line-up:
Gordon; McTominay, Hendry, McKenna; Ralston, McGinn, McGregor, Robertson; Armstrong, Adams, Christie
We say Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland
Despite their dismal Nations League record, the Republic of Ireland are hoping for a turnaround at some point. While that’s not necessarily coming on Saturday, we believe the Green Army will do enough to claim a hard-earned share of the spoils in a close game.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their football best tips.Under 3.5:Data