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Scotland vs Northern Ireland predictions: Expect goals at Hampden Park
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Liam Flin
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Steve Clarke will want to see Scotland get back to winning ways in front of a Hampden Park crowd.
Steve Clarke will want to see Scotland get back to winning ways in front of a Hampden Park crowd.

- Six of Scotland's last seven matches have featured over 2.5 goals
- Northern Ireland have scored in three of their last five fixtures
- Recommended bet: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

It is a crucial year for Scotland with the Euros just over the horizon, but their first match of 2024 could not have gone much worse.

Steve Clarke's men were thrashed 4-0 by the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday, extending their winless run to six matches in all competitions.

But they performed well in Euro 2024 qualifying, winning five of their eight matches, and will expect to fare much better against Northern Ireland, who drew 1-1 in Romania on Friday.

Team news

There could be some rotation for Scotland, who will definitely be without defenders Grant Hanley and Scott McKenna, who withdrew from the squad.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell could start in goal for Northern Ireland this time around after featuring in the second half of the draw with Romania.

The stats

Scotland have failed to win any of their last six matches, although that run has featured games against England, Spain and France.

They have scored in each of their last 17 home fixtures but have leaked 13 goals in their last four matches.

Northern Ireland have kept just one clean sheet – against San Marino – in their last eight matches.

Prediction

Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland earned a creditable 1-1 draw in Romania last time out.
Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland earned a creditable 1-1 draw in Romania last time out.

Scotland were seriously impressive during qualifying for Euro 2024 and they will be eager to rediscover some of that form as the tournament approaches this summer.

The Tartan Army collected 17 points from eight matches in Group A in qualifying, finishing above Norway, Georgia and Cyprus.

But even noting the quality of recent opponents, their run of six games without a win is concerning, as is their current defensive fragility.

Scotland have conceded 13 times in their last four matches and 18 times in their last six games, so it is fair to say there is work to be done before Euro 2024.

Going forwards, though, there is promise and in the defeat to the Netherlands they matched the home side's shot count of 13 in Amsterdam.

At home, meanwhile, Scotland have scored in 17 consecutive home fixtures, firing three past Norway in a high-octane draw back in November.

Lawrence Shankland will be determined to prove himself after a glaring miss against the Dutch and this should be a high-scoring encounter.

Northern Ireland dug deep to draw with Romania on Friday and will also be up for the challenge against a fellow home nation, so expect the goals to flow at Hampden Park. 

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