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Forget the boo boys my lads will manage: O'Neill

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Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill

SPORTSFILE

Martin O'Neill

MARTIN O'Neill has laughed off suggestions that Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy will wilt under a storm of Celtic Park abuse.

After two weeks which saw Gordon Strachan and Gordon McQueen throw some fuel on an already red hot set of circumstances, both McGeady and McCarthy can expect a torrid evening.

But O'Neill believes that the players' professionalism and maturity will help them deal with anything that is thrown at them.

"Like everything else, if you are a very good player and you are playing away from home and people might consider because you were born there that you are likely to take some sort of criticism for it," said O'Neill.

"But they are good players and good players generally get booed. The players who play, I think, are quite capable of dealing with it. It's as simple as that.

"They are very good players, they are maturing year by year and they can deal with it." O'Neill's selection for Scotland is still predicated on the fitness of two men - Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy and both will be assessed continuously and most likely, right up to kick-off time.

For Whelan, the issue is not pain or residual issues with his leg fracture but simple fitness.

"Psychologically, you like to have maybe 10 or 12 days training done beforehand for any decent game, never mind something like this.

"Each day he's getting better. He's not feeling sore in the way he might if it was a muscle problem and he's feeling better but it would be fitness that you would take into consideration more than anything else.

"Glenn has done a little here today," said O'Neill after yesterday's training session. "He's been out for a long time, I'll have a look at it and I'll see how he's feeling. But he's definitely feeling better each day.

"These are the things that I've said that you could take into consideration in the way that we did for the opening game in Georgia when there were two or three players who hadn't played an awful lot of football.

"That was always a concern going into that game; players who might last the hour, maybe last less than that," said O'Neill.

"As it turned out it worked out fine but Darron (Gibson) comes exactly into that category. He hasn't played an awful lot of football.

"He did play on Sunday, which helps. Ideally for games like this you would like players to have gotten a bit more time but that's the nature of the business."

As ever, O'Neill kept his cards very close to his chest when the subject of team selection came up but he did predict a more attacking approach than we saw in Germany.

"I think we are capable of coming and attacking more than we did against Germany, The players did wonderfully well to get a result there, a fantastic result, really fantastic. It's given us confidence to go and try to beat Scotland."


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