35 minutes: McClean crosses long from the left. Parrott meets him at the far post, forcing Gordon to pull away with a header that caught the top left. But Parrott only hit the ball after pushing Tierney in the goal, and he doesn’t get away with it.
33 minutes: Sashas Collins in from the right wing and slips a pass towards the other end for McClean, whose cross is deflected away resulting in a short game of head tennis and eventually a pressure-reducing foul on McTominay.
31 min: Armstrong cuts down the left and reaches the byline before curling into the box. Dykes opts to ease a header to McGinn rather than go behind. McGinn drags another weak shot wide left.
29 minutes: Scotland come again, Tierney slipping Christie into the space on the left. Egan blocks the resulting low cross. The hosts have picked up the pace, and things are now starting to go their way. Bazunu is yet to be worked on, however.
27 minutes: McGregor lands a right and knocks Armstrong out on the overlap. Armstrong swings in a low cross. McGinn comes late to meet him, but his first-time check dribbles harmlessly to the left.
26 minutes: Christie takes possession 40 yards out and drives towards the Ireland box. He tries to find Armstrong with a forensic pass down the inside right channel. It’s too hot for Armstrong to take control and fly out for a goal kick. But that’s a bit better from Scotland.
24 minutes: Hampden has fallen very quietly. The home fans got their hopes up. Still a long way to go, though Scotland must put something together to top Hampden again. They have now produced until now.
22 minutes: Scotland try to clear their heads by stringing together several passes. McTominay, McGinn and Christie seeing the strength of the ball in midfield. But they don’t really go anywhere. Scotland on Wednesday night has not been shown yet.
20 minutes: Ireland caused all kinds of trouble for Scotland at set pieces in Dublin, and they have done it again. That affected the atmosphere at Hampden, except for the away part of course. They are giving strength.
Scotland just managed to clear the corner, Dykes header falling to Molumby on the edge of the box. Molumby goes down the inside left channel. Collins makes contact, the ball breaking to Egan, who sweeps a shot into the bottom left. Ireland ahead!
17 minutes: McTominay is removed from Obafemi, and suddenly Ireland are three from two! Obafemi Parrott slides into the Scotland box on the right. Parrott fires a shot, but it is well blocked by Hendry, who bravely spreads himself at the expense of a corner.
15 minutes: McGinn captures Knight late. It’s a wasted foot stuck in a 50-50, nothing else, but it earns the Scotland captain a chat from the referee. Doherty then hits Tierney on the jaw with his shoulder. There’s no malice in it, either, but Tierney felt that anyway.
13 minutes: Scotland settle for some sterile stuff in midfield. A few Hampden hearts will be in his mouth for a second back then; you never know for sure until that flag comes up.
11 minutes: Parrott is released down the inside left channel. He’s a mile off, but he keeps going, gets into the box, drops a shoulder to put Hendry on his back, and fires into the top right. That’s a great finish, but the flag is likely to go up, and rightly so. Still, that’s what drove the fans away.
9 minutes: England going down, the home fans trilled to last year’s hit Lightning Seeds.
8 minutes: Hickey rolls a cute ball down the right wing for McTominay, who crisply doubles with Dykes and heads into the box. I’m not sure what he decided to do next. A shot? Low cross? Either way, Bazunu is an easy dribbler. A lame end with a beautiful sweeping motion.
6 minutes: It’s Christie who takes the first shot in anger, heading down the inside-left route before curling a speculative – and impressive – effort wide and harmless on the right. Bazunu looks at him calmly.
5 minutes: This game is being played at 101 miles per hour. No real shape yet.
4 minutes: Hickey tries to drop Armstrong to the right but he cooks his pass. Kick goal. A better ball might have opened up Ireland.
2 minutes: Ireland are seeing more of the ball during these very early exchanges. Scotland showing willingness to press.
Ireland to get the ball rolling. Obafemi and Parrott will immediately turn on the jets, hoping to catch Scotland cold. McTominay intercepts and stops his caper. The visitors are clearly up for this!
The teams are out! Scotland wears its dark blue, and Ireland changes to orange. Great atmosphere in Hampden. We will be outside when the songs are passionately sung, when the pantomime bird is given, etc.
Turn Stephen Kenny. “The thing about international football is between the last window we had, when we finished strongly in Ukraine, it’s 96 days. That’s a long time. We are excited about the game. We are ready for it. We set the standard against Scotland and Poland against Ukraine. We respect Scotland, who had a great win in midweek, but we want an equally spirited performance. Technically all the players can take the ball, I recommend that and I want that. But traditional Irish values are also very important: passion, intensity and the ability to work together and win the ball back.”
Steve Clarke talks to Premier Sports. “We want to keep our momentum. We want to play well. We want to win the game. We want to go to Ukraine with the best chance of qualifying, which means we need to put in a positive performance tonight. I’m only playing with one hitter so now I’m lucky I can rotate them a bit. I can use them for all the games depending on how I see the situation. We all know what happened in the summer and we want to play better and have a positive result.”
Scotland have four players who are one booking away from suspension. Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Ché Adams will all miss the Ukraine game if shown the yellow card this evening.
There are four players in the Republic of Ireland who are tightening their grip on discipline. Josh Cullen, Callum Robinson, Jeff Hendrick and Alan Browne must be at their best, or they will miss Armenia’s visit to Dublin next week.
Scotland make two changes to the starting XI named against Ukraine earlier this week. Lyndon Dykes replaces Cé Adams up front, while Aaron Hickey replaces the injured Nathan Patterson.
The Republic of Ireland make four changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Ukraine back in June. Gavin Bazunu, John Egan, Matt Doherty and Michael Obafemi take the places of Kevin Kelleher, Darragh Lenihan, Alan Browne and Scott Hogan.
Scotland: Gordon, Hickey, Hendry, McKenna, Tierney, McTominay, McGregor, Armstrong, McGinn, Christie, Dykes.
Art: Kelly, McCrorie, Gallagher, Taylor, Porteous, Adams, Gilmour, Ralston, Doig, Fraser, Jack, McLean.
Irish public: Bazunu, Doherty, Collins, Egan, Cullen, O’Shea, Knight, Molumby, McClean, Obafemi, Parrott.
Art: Travers, O’Leary, Coleman, Duffy, Robinson, Hourihane, Hendrick, Browne, Hogan, Ogbene, Brady, O’Dowda.
Referee: Sandro Schärer (Switzerland).
Last Wednesday, Scotland did this…
…and suddenly, winning Group B1 is no big dream. A draw tonight against the Republic of Ireland would put them back on top of the group – Ukraine won 5-0 in Armenia earlier in the afternoon – while another point against the Ukrainians in neutral Poland on Tuesday would seal the deal. But the Republic, who are not yet safe from relegation, have their own issues. A win at Hampden tonight would secure their status in the second tier, which would mean the visit of Armenia on Tuesday. Given how well Scotland played during the week, and the 3-0 drubbing Ireland gave them back in June, anything is possible tonight. Could be a cracker. It kicks off at 7.45pm BST. It’s on!