Scotland's Shaun Maloney hopes winner against Ireland is not in vain

Shaun Maloney scores for Scotland against Republic of Ireland
Shaun Maloney's goal gave Scotland a 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland in November
Euro 2016 qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Scotland
Date: Saturday, 13 June Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Shaun Maloney has described his winning goal against Republic of Ireland in November as the highlight of his international career.

And the Scotland attacker is determined to ensure that goal counts for something at the end of the campaign.

Maloney scored from a rehearsed set-piece routine in the 1-0 victory at Celtic Park.

"It will be a similar match but I can't see a set piece like that happening again," Maloney said.

"They were good memories in November and hopefully it will be the same again.

"At the moment [the goal is the highlight of international career], but I'm obviously hoping there will be some more and a positive ending to qualifying campaign.

Group D as it stands

"That night and that moment for myself and the team was special."

Chicago Fire forward Maloney has not watched footage of the goal since that night in November. He is pleased with his form for the national team, which he believes is due in part to the strength in depth of the squad and the competition for places.

With the intensity of training in the past two weeks under coach Gordon Strachan, Maloney believes the Scotland players will be ready physically for the game in Dublin, despite it coming two weeks after the end of the domestic season.

Maloney believes both sides will feel the pressure of the game, although it will weigh more heavily on the home side, but he is confident Scotland will cope with the challenge after their promising start to the qualifying campaign in Group D.

The Scots are third in the section, level on points with second-placed Germany and a point behind leaders Poland after five games.

"In terms of the group and the context of the match, [a victory] would be a massive result," Maloney said.

Shaun Maloney scores for Scotland against Gibraltar
Maloney has been a regular scorer during Scotland's Euro 2016 qualifying campaign

"We felt the pressure in the home game, and knowing the home games are so important it will be less for us this time going away. Ireland are going to be very hard to beat.

"We felt [the pressure] against Georgia, we felt it against Republic of Ireland. Particularly the way the group is going, every home game is important and you really need to try to win them. The pressure switches over to Ireland, but I don't think there are many international games now where you don't feel pressure.

"I wouldn't say a win is imperative. We've had a brilliant start to group. It's going to be a tough away match and both sides will think they can win it.

"I don't think a win for either side will knock the other side out of the group, so I don't think the result will dictate the final standings, but a win would be a massive boost going into the final matches.

"With the start we've had, we've given ourselves a chance. The next four or five games, we'll need to play like the opening four or five games and if we do then we'll make it. It's the best that we've started a group."

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