Scotland vs Rep of Ireland predictions: Home record gives Scots an edge

Jack Ogalbe
Spotlight
After he scored twice against Ukraine, Scotland's Lyndon Dykes is the man to watch on Saturday
After he scored twice against Ukraine, Scotland's Lyndon Dykes is the man to watch on Saturday

Scotland bounced back from a mixed June by beating Ukraine 3-0 on Wednesday and will now be looking to get their own back on the Republic of Ireland.

The Republic were rampant as they ran out the 3-0 winners when the duo met over the summer in Dublin, with goals from Alan Browne, Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi clinching a convincing victory.

However, that is to date their only success in Nations League B1, but Stephen Kenny's side have the chance to end on a high, with them concluding their campaign at home to Armenia on Tuesday.

That win over Ukraine saw Scotland go top of the pool, but with the return match against the Blue and Yellow still to be played, they may feel they need to win at Hampden to have any hope of promotion.

Team news

Scotland will be without defender Nathan Patterson who was stretchered off against Ukraine with a knee injury, and Aaron Hickey could deputise, having replaced him on Wednesday.

Striker Lyndon Dykes could get the nod ahead of Che Adams after his two-goal haul, while Steve Clarke could rotate with his side still having a game to play against Ukraine during the current international break.

This will be Ireland's first game since June and provides some of their players who do not get the minutes they would like at club level a chance to shine.

Tottenham wing-back Matt Doherty looks set to feature, with goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and defender Darragh Lenihan manager Kenny's only notable absentees.

The stats

Stephen Kenny guided his side to a 3-0 victory the last time they played Scotland in the summer
Stephen Kenny guided his side to a 3-0 victory the last time they played Scotland in the summer

Scotland have won three of their four games in Group B1, doing the double over Armenia and beating Ukraine.

The reverse in Dublin is the only blot on their copybook, and they are clearly more confident at home as they have yet to lose on their own patch since the inauguration of the Nations League.

On a similar theme, the Republic are still to win an away match in this competition, including losing in Armenia in June.

They lost their last trip to Hampden, a Euro 2016 qualifier, 1-0 in November 2014 but, unlike the Scots, went on to qualify for that tournament.

One thing that could set Scotland apart is their firepower. They have scored nine times in this current edition of the Nations League, five times more than the Republic.

Dykes came off the bench to net two of them against Ukraine and is joined on that tally by both Stuart Armstrong and John McGinn.

Alongside Brown, Parrott and Obafemi, defender Nathan Collins is the only other player to have scored for the Republic.

Prediction

This looks set to be a cagey contest, with June's 3-0 win for Ireland somewhat of an outlier. Before that game, the previous four meetings had all seen under 2.5 goals, and that looks set to be the case on Saturday.

Despite Scotland's goals tally, neither Dykes nor Adams have consistently convinced on the international stage, while the Republic have never replaced Robbie Keane.

Therefore, another under 2.5 goals could be on the agenda, and Scotland's home record gives them an edge.

Hampden appears to be regaining its reputation as a fearsome place to go, and the famous roar could contribute to a significant victory.

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