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Sunday 20 August 2017

Irish clash on hold for Scots

SCOTLAND boss Gordon Strachan (above) has put aside any thoughts about next month's Euro 2016 clash with Ireland until their games against Georgia and Poland are out of the way.

Scotland host Ireland at Parkhead on November 14 in what is bound to be a sell-out, the first competitive meeting of the sides since 1987.

With so many edges to the game - Martin O'Neill going head to head with Strachan, Roy Keane returning to Parkhead, Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy playing against their native country and former Scotland U21 cap Alex Pearce possibly appearing against the Scots - it's one of the key matches of the campaign.

But Strachan's focus is on this month's qualifiers at home to Georgia and away to Poland.

"I haven't really thought about Ireland, We play Poland away after we play Georgia," says Strachan.

"After the Poland game we have a wee while before we play the Republic and I think that one will be just like an old fashioned English cup tie. I say 'English' because there will be a lot of players who play in England, on both sides.

"So it will be like a cup tie, played in an incredible atmosphere at Celtic Park."

Meanwhile, Strachan feels that the Scottish game will only be strong again when the big clubs are back in the SPL.

Sides like Rangers, Hibs and Hearts are all in the Scottish second tier this season and the national team boss is keen to see them back in the top flight.

"We need Rangers, Hearts, Hibs all in the top division. It's different at the moment as we have other teams at the top but to be truly strong, we need all those teams in the top division. I think everyone agrees with that."

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