This Friday Scotland host the Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park in an important game for both sides’ chances of qualifying for EURO 2016 in France. We look at the most recent encounters between the sides.
Ireland 1 – 0 Scotland
Carling Nations Cup, Aviva Stadium, 29th May 2011.
The inaugural (and so far only) Carling Nations Cup between the Celtic nations never quite caught the public imagination but the 17,694 attendees at this final match had the unusual experience of seeing Ireland lift a trophy.
The tournament was a round robin but this match was effectively a cup final as both sides entered with six points. Trappatoni’s Boys in Green were on a serious hot streak in 2011, losing only one game, securing some key results in their ultimately successful EURO 2012 qualifying campaign, and the Scotland match was the second in a run of eight consecutive clean sheets.
Ireland won all of their Nations Cup games without conceding a goal and Robbie Keane sealed their perfect record with his 49th International goal. Paul McShane assisted after an uncharacteristic piece of silky skill in midfield to take the ball past Scottish debutante James Forrest.
Scotland 0 – 2 Ireland
Friendly, Hampden Park, 12th Februay 2003.
A tale of two managers, as Brian Kerr’s first game in charge of Ireland was an easy victory with early goals from Kevin Kilbane and Clinton Morrison, whereas Bertie Vogts was left still without a win after a year in charge.
A certain outspoken former Ireland captain was still on the fans’ minds only months after Saipan (plus ça change…). The away fans gave several rousing renditions of ‘Are you watching Roy Keane’.
Ireland 1 – 2 Scotland
Friendly, Lansdowne Road, 30th May 2000.
The upcoming World Cup qualifiers felt like last chance saloon for both managers – both sides had failed to qualify for that Summer’s EURO 2000 after losing in the play-offs – Mick McCarthy’s Ireland’s ill-tempered away goals defeat to Turkey, contrasting with Craig Brown’s Scotland’s moral victory after their famous victory at Wembley wasn’t enough to overcome England on aggregate.
So this end-of-season friendly was a chance for both sides to experiment with fringe players before World Cup qualifying began. An early goal from Mark Kennedy wasn’t enough as Craig Burley and Barry Ferguson put Scotland ahead at half time. The second half understandably lost any rhythm with a total of nine substitutions.
Scotland 0 – 1 Ireland
EURO ’88 Qualifier, Hampden Park, 18th February 1987.
This would be the sides last meeting for over a decade as Ireland and Scotland somehow avoided each other for the entire 1990s. A lacklustre Scotland display meant that Mark Lawrenson’s goal was enough to give Ireland the 2 (!) points and put them back into contention for qualifying.
Current Scotland manager Gordon Strachan played 90 minutes but could do nothing to prevent his side’s loss. Scotland went on to regroup with a shock away victory over Bulgaria that granted Jack Charlton’s Ireland passage to EURO ’88, and things would never be the same for Irish football again.
Ireland 0 – 0 Scotland
EURO ’88 Qualifier, Lansdowne Road, 15th October 1986.
Enthusiasm was high in the Ireland camp after Jack Charlton masterminded Irish victory in the Iceland traingular tournament and 50,000 packed into Lansdowne Road for Charlton’s first home qualifier. Ireland dominated possession but missed chances to win the match.
So out of the five most recent encounters, Ireland have won three, Scotland have won one, and there has been one draw. Scotland matches seem to bring out the luck of the Irish, helping Ireland to the finals of EURO ’88 and a rare trophy in the Carling Nations Cup. Here’s hoping history will repeat itself this Friday at Celtic Park.
Darren Kelly, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Reggie Suplido from USA (The fabulous Aviva Stadium) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons