IRELAND v England was turgid and Scotland v Qatar wasn’t much better. So what chances is there of Ireland-Scotland being a thriller?
The stakes are much higher but maybe they’re too great and the fear of losing could lead to a struggle.
It’s a massive Euro 2016 qualifier that could hinge on one moment of magic or one shoddy slip. It was a piece of genius that separated the sides at Hampden when Shaun Maloney struck and the Dublin version promises to be just as tight.
However, under Gorodn Strachan the Scots have hardly put a foot wrong and I don’t think we’ll lose. As the Irish are 7-5 favourites with William Hill you can back Scotland on the double chance (not to lose) at 7-11 with 888sport or draw no bet at a better price of 11-8 at 888sport.
To win Scotland are 5-2 at McBookie and BetVictor while the draw that suits as more than O’Neill’s men us is 11-5 at McBookie and BetVictor.
The Scots firm, who reckon £5million will be wagered on the match, are giving customers a risk-free £5 bet on the qualifier.
World Cup Final ref Nicola Rizzoli has been appointed to take charge which suggests UEFA fear a powderkeg – and they could be right. It will be meaty to say the least with tackles flying in and a red card pays 3-1 at McBookie and BetVictor.
There were six bookings at Hampden and the stakes are even higher this time. McGeady was one of those cautioned and he’ll be as fired up as anyone against the country of his birth so consider him at 4-1 with McBookie to be carded. Over 4.5 bookings pays 4-6 at bet365.
Ireland have struggled recently for goals and there’s likely to be a start for record scorer Robbie Keane who was missing in Glasgow. The La Galaxy star still poses a threat and is 6-1 at Coral to break the deadlock.
Maloney is 12-1 at bet365 to score first again as is Matt Ritchie who netted the goal against Qatar. Steven Fletcher and Steven Naismith are joint 15-2 favourites but Maloney could be the dangerman.
It’s difficult seeing it being a high scorer though and I noticed in the Daily Record’s piece about O’Neill-Strachan head to heads just one of the 10 meetings had produced a match with over 2.5 goals and that was an FA Cup tie when Coventry beat a weakened Leicester 3-0 in 1999.
Under 2.5 goals looks almost sure and that pays just 8-15 at bet365 and Ladbrokes and a scoreless first half has a chance at 11-8 with bet365.
Scotland draw no bet
Over 4.5 bookings