MANY people have rules about not betting on friendlies. It’s one I share in most instances.
Thousands of others will never bet on Scotland – so it’s big problem on Wednesday with Scotland-Northern Ireland one of the few games worth punting on.
I’ll add another rule – don’t bet on the Scots unless Gordon Strachan is manager. Under the former Celtic boss the revitalised nation have lost just two in 11 games – against Germany and England – and in general have put in decent displays.
The visit of Northern Ireland to Hampden will be more fiercely fought than Sunday’s Euro qualifier for Scotland against Gibraltar.
Ahead of a competitive match teams usually go easy with the warm-up but Strachan has nothing to fear from the minnows at the weekend so he’ll be going all out to beat the Irish.
Michael O’Neill’s men may not have the same mindset with a vital qualifier in Finland on Sunday. Having toppled the Republic of Ireland in the Euros I’m backing Scotland to complete an Irish double.
I’d love over evens but Scotland are no bigger than 4-5 favourites at William Hill to bag the win with the Irish 19-4 at McBookie and BetVictor and a draw 5-2.
Northern Ireland haven’t won a friendly for nine years but have notched victories in three of their last four qualifiers. And in players such as Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and ex-Ranger Kyle Lafferty they have forwards with plenty to prove.
Jordan Rhodes is expected to get the nod for the Scots up front and is 4-1 with bet365 to hit the opener while Steven Naismith is 11-2. New boy Matt Richie of Bournemouth is 11-5 to net at any time if he gets a chance.
Lafferty has netted in three of Ireland’s last four and is 9-1 with bet365 with McGinn 16-1.
Scotland have not conceded in four of their last five home matches and are 7-4 with Hills to win to nil.
Here are some stats and specials from William Hill that might help with your selections. These are not tips.
Northern Ireland have not scored a goal
against Scotland since 1981.
SCOTLAND TO KEEP A CLEAN SHEET 10-11.
Kyle Lafferty has scored in both of
Northern Ireland’s last three victories
LAFFERTY TO SCORE AND IRELAND WIN 8-1
Scotland have not scored in the first
half in their last four home matches
SCOTLAND NO FIRST HALF GOALS 4-6
Northern Ireland have only scored one
goal in the first half in their last nine
IRELAND NO FIRST HALF GOALS 1-5
Matt Richie will be hoping to celebrate
his Scotland call-up with a goal.
RITCHIE TO SCORE ANY TIME 11-5
Niall McGinn scored only his second
goal for Northern Ireland in their 2-1
victory over Hungary in September.
McGINN TO SCORE ANYTIME 14-5
Steven Fletcher celebrates his 28th
birthday the day after this match.
Will he take his new Lamborghini for a
spin past the Stadium or Light or will
he score for Scotland?
S FLETCHER SCORE AND SCOTLAND WIN 3-1
Scotland have not conceded a goal in
4 of their last 5 home matches,
winning 3 of them.
SCOTLAND TO WIN TO NIL 7-4
Man Utd Youngster Paddy McNair is
looking to make his Northern Ireland
debut at Hampden.
McNAIR TO SCORE ANYTIME 11-1