A Republic of Ireland XI played out a highly entertaining 2-2 draw against Celtic on Sunday to mark Scott Brown’s testimonial.
The Boys in Green were able to treat this match as a warm-up for their upcoming clashes with France and the USA, while Brendan Rodgers’ side were playing in their second fixture in as many days after Saturday’s Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park.
As such, both sides looked different to how they would normally be expected to line out, with a number of changes made to either side.
It was to be the visitors who drew first blood, Preston midfielder Alan Browne capitalising on some poor Celtic defending to put Ireland 1-0 up after just three minutes with a fine strike from the edge of the area.
Celtic were level with less than five minutes of the first half remaining. Eboue Kouassi worked tirelessly to win the ball back and square for Leigh Griffiths, who slotted past Colin Doyle to ensure that the sides went in level at the break.
After sweeping changes to both sides, Callum O’Dowda put Ireland pack in front ten minutes into the second half. The Bristol City man played a one-two with Jon Walters before unleashing a fine strike from outside the box came back off the crossbar only to find the net courtesy of a major deflection from the Celtic keeper.
Ireland’s second lead, however, was to be much shorter-lived than the first, as Patrick Roberts had the Bhoys level less than five minutes later with a shot that crept in via a deflection from Browne and past Irish substitute keeper Conor O’Malley.
O’Malley was on hand to stop Celtic from going ahead as time ticked away, the Peterborough United keeper making a fine save to deny Bhoys legend Henrik Larsson from what would have been a dream homecoming for the Swedish striker.
2-2 the final score, both sides can be happy with the run-out and Scott Brown got the reception that his devotion to Celtic deserved.
The Boys in Green still have a busy schedule ahead with the aforementioned friendlies against France and the US to come over the next fortnight.