Scotland: Pat Nevin predicts a narrow win for home side

By Jane LewisBBC Scotland
Ikechi Anya
Scotland winger Ikechi Anya has been indentified as a key player against Ireland by Pat Nevin
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.

Pat Nevin reckons the wide men hold the key to Friday night's Euro 2016 qualifier between Scotland and the Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park.

And the 28-times capped former Scotland winger believes the hosts will edge it.

"If Ikechi Anya's playing on the left against Seamus Coleman, who is a fantastic player but he's not at his best, he has to be got at.

"Aiden McGeady's on fantastic form and we're missing Alan Hutton, so the wide areas could be important in this one."

Nevin, who netted five goals in a Scotland jersey, expects a cagey affair at Celtic Park and believes it is a game that Gordon Strachan's Scots cannot afford to lose.

Pat Nevin
Pat Nevin earned 28 caps for Scotland and scored five goals

The visitors go into the match with seven points from three games, while Scotland have four points.

And Nevin, 51, says the fact James McCarthy and Marc Wilson are missing for the Republic could prove crucial.

"I suspect there won't be many goals in this game," Nevin told BBC Scotland. "Ireland play a very tight game normally, but with the injuries they've got, they will play a very defensive game and try to hit us on the break.

"It's very close to it - it's certainly a must-not lose [for Scotland].

"If we win we're back in the mix, if we draw we're not out of it, if we lose we're up against the eight ball and I just can't see us getting through, so do not lose this one.

"It's quite simple, play the way we normally play - go out and attack, be positive.

"I have changed my mind and I think we're going to sneak it. I thought it would be a draw before, but having looked at their weaknesses and the players they've got missing, I think we're going to sneak it, 2-1 maybe."

In the build-up to the game there has been speculation about the reception McGeady will get from the home fans, having opted to play for Ireland rather than Scotland.

And Nevin added: "He'll get special treatment but in my career, there was part of me that thought 'they're giving me special treatment, so they're worried about me' and it used to give me a lift.

"It happens and I've been on the end of it myself plenty of times. As a footballer you accept it."

Top Stories