Saturday, 15 November 2014

Scotland 1 v Republic of Ireland 0

The dream lives on. A bruising evening of European qualifying action was justly settled twenty minutes from full time by the best piece of football of the evening. Scotsman Shaun Maloney was on the end of a training ground short-corner routine to stride onto a Brown back-heel and curl a pearler beyond Millwall's keeper. It's a sign I tell ya!

Ireland can have few complaints. They came for the draw and tried to prevent Scotland from playing football. They were shown a series of yellow cards and Martin O'Neill must have been subbing carded players in the second half in order to avoid going down to ten men. That said, Scotland found it hard to create clear-cut chances and it looked harder after losing Steven Fletcher to injury.

Steven Naismith often disappoints me but he was my man-of-the-match last night in a free role which saw him playing all across the Ireland defence and holding the ball up to superb effect. Mulgrew and Robertson were a new full-back combo and both did fine work, especially Mulgrew who got forward and provided support for Ikechi Anya.

The Irish were in good voice before the match in the East End bars of Glasgow but they were drowned out after thirty minutes by which time the stadium had filled up. Traffic into Glasgow was horrendous last night due to the volume (Bryan Adams was playing and One Direction were somewhere as I saw them at the airport this morning), and torrential rain on the road down from Aberdeen and in from Edinburgh. Maloney's strike silenced the visitors.

Scotland are now level with Germany and Ireland on seven points and all three trail Poland on ten. Scotland, however, have played Poland and Germany away and have six points to come from Gibraltar. Gib visit Glasgow next in March before Scotland head to Dublin for a show-down.

I am left thinking this afternoon thinking about the twenty year old who died today following a fall the Upper tier at Parkhead. Alcohol may well have played a part but the front wall of the Upper Tiers at Parkhead is very low. Several others have fallen previously.

Finally, I caught Football Focus today - a rare event for me - and hung around to see Maloney's corker again. Not only didn't they show it, but they didn't how any others. Anyone know if this is the way it works now or why?

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