JAMES McCarthy (above) will not need a scan on his fatigued hamstring and must now be rated as an almost certain starter against Scotland on Friday night.
While Martin O'Neill understandably hedged and suggested that it would probably be a last-minute call, it has to be good news that McCarthy's injury is not serious enough to require closer scrutiny.
"He's played a lot of games. Everton are also involved heavily in the Europa League and I think it's one of those situations where you really would have to wait until the last minute," said O'Neill, not above playing mind games when the opportunity presents itself.
"James has arrived here, James has come here, James wants to play if he's fit and that's very encouraging.
"He always did want to come and it's great to see him here because he's an important part of the team," he added.
O'Neill had to wave goodbye to Kevin Doyle who was forced to withdraw from the squad and has returned to Crystal Palace for treatment.
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