Scotland v Republic of Ireland – 5 talking points ahead of Hampden clash

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Peter Kavinsky

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Scotland take on the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League at Hampden Park on Saturday night.

Here, PA News Agency takes a look at the main talking points ahead of the B1 group meeting in Glasgow.

Lyndon Dykes back?

Lyndon Dykes came off the bench to replace Che Adams against Ukraine in Hampden on Wednesday with Scotland leading by a single goal from John McGinn.

The QPR striker used a brace – both headers from fellow substitute Ryan Fraser from corners – as the hosts picked up a valuable three points.

Now Steve Clarke must decide whether that essential contribution was enough to get him started against the Republic – the Scottish boss is delighted with the dilemma – or perhaps find a system to accommodate both Dykes and Adams.

John McGinn will mark half a century

The Aston Villa skipper has become a mainstay for the Scottish squad since making his international debut against Denmark in 2016.

The former St Mirren and Hibernian midfielder’s first goal against Ukraine was his 14th for Scotland in 49 caps, a more than decent return. He will make 50 against the Irish.

Clarke admits he is “indebted” to McGinn and hopes to reach 100 caps, but on Saturday he will seek another key contribution from his vice-captain who will lead the home side again in the absence of injured Andy Robertson.

Scotland ready to keep faith in Aaron Hickey

Scotland’s Aaron Hickey (left) impressed against Ukraine (Steve Welsh/PA).

(PA wire)

Nathan Patterson’s injury in the first half against Ukraine, which saw him carried off the pitch on a stretcher, was a blow to the Everton and Scotland right-back.

Brentford’s Aaron Hickey proved a competent substitute as he negated the threat of Ukraine’s fastest player Mykhaylo Mudryk.

The 20-year-old former Hearts and Bologna defender’s assured performance was proof of Scotland’s strength from depth in some areas and Clarke will have no qualms about slotting him in for his second start in this which would be his sixth selection.

Back to the future for Ireland

Robbie Brady celebrates his goal against Italy at Euro 2016 (Chris Radburn/PA).

(PA Archive)

Stephen Kenny has built his team around a core of young players with potential, but he will have two older heads at his disposal at Hampden after long absences.

Preston winger, 30, Robbie Brady, who scored a memorable winner against Italy at Euro 2016, has not played for his country since March last year, while the midfielder Cardiff’s Callum O’Dowda, 27, donned the green jersey for the last time. in November 2020, injuries having taken their toll.

Both players will be desperate to make up for lost time.

Stephen Kenny faces a selection dilemma

Although Kenny insisted he wouldn’t be afraid to leave out one of his biggest names, he decided to replace skipper Seamus Coleman and fellow defenders Shane Duffy and Matt Doherty.

The trio have played just five minutes of Premier League football between them so far this season, not ideal preparation for a tough game against an opposition determined to avenge the 3-0 defeat of June in Dublin.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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