Scotland: Gordon Strachan hails Celtic Park atmosphere

Scotland players train at Celtic Park
Scotland will be playing at Celtic Park as Hampden Park is still out of use after hosting the Commonwealth Games
Scotland v Republic of Ireland
Venue: Celtic Park Date: 14 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland & online. Live text on BBC Sport website.

Gordon Strachan is confident the Tartan Army will turn Celtic Park into a real home from home for Scotland players as they host Republic of Ireland.

Much has been made about Celtic connections within the visiting party and the Parkhead club's Irish links ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifier.

But Scotland manager Strachan said: "We will turn Celtic Park into the home of Scottish football.

"You'll know fine well you are in Scotland tomorrow night."

Former Celtic manager Martin O'Neill's Ireland squad includes Anthony Stokes, who currently plays for the Scottish champions, while Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane, Daryl Murphy and assistant boss Roy Keane have all worn the Hoops.

The build up to the game has also featured much debate about the reception likely for McGeady and Everton team-mate James McCarthy considering the Glasgow-born midfielders chose to play for Ireland. The latter has since been ruled out because of a hamstring injury.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan
"If you take out Gibraltar, every game has been just one goal in every game, so that's how tight this group is."

Strachan, whose side also host England in a friendly on Tuesday, said: "The propaganda's gone. The game is on.

"Everything's been built up over the last couple of weeks. It has become a hot game.

"The emphasis six months ago was on England and it's all been shifted on to this game because of the performances of both countries and the expectations of supporters, players, media alike."

Ireland sit second in the Group D table, behind Poland on goal difference, with Scotland three points behind in fourth.

The match is being played at Celtic Park - Scotland hosted Georgia at Ibrox in their previous home game - because the national stadium at Hampden was converted to an athletics venue for the Commonwealth Games.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan at Celtic Park
Gordon Strachan is back at Celtic Park, where he had a spell as manager

Strachan, himself a former Celtic manager, was not concerned that some of the Irish squad would feel comfortable at the Glasgow venue and pointed out: "We're quite familiar with it as well. Most of the lads have played on it.

"Tomorrow, it's not going to be Celtic Park. Tomorrow, it is Scotland's Park. Tomorrow, there's going to be 50-odd thousand Scotland fans in there.

"That is Scotland's territory tomorrow and they're coming to Scotland's territory.

"We had a lovely taste of it at Ibrox. I thought the atmosphere there was great as well and I thought the Scottish fans turned Ibrox into the home of Scotland for the day and we'll do that tomorrow."

Strachan played down suggestions that it was a must-win game for the Scots.

"If you take out Gibraltar, every game has been just one goal in every game, so that's how tight this group is," he added. "You never know when the big game is coming.

"I think you have to wait until we have all played each other and see where we're all standing. You will get a better idea of how tough the task is after that."

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