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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

'There are some very Cockney accents in the Scottish squad but I wouldn't question them' -- Paul McGrath

McGrath is confident that Ireland can go to Scotland and win.

McGrath says he enjoyed hostile atmospheres.
McGrath says he enjoyed hostile atmospheres.
Image: © INPHO

PAUL MCGRATH HAS said that Ireland are not the only team with foreign players playing for them and believes that Gordon McQueen is just “stoking the fire” before Ireland meet Scotland on Friday.

Speaking on The John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1 McGrath said “there’s some very Cockney accents in the Scottish squad but I wouldn’t question them. If you want to play for Scotland why shouldn’t you play for Scotland?”

Scottish-born Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy have come in for a lot of media attention in the run-up to the game due to their Scottish heritage with Gordon McQueen saying he hopes they get a “horrible” reception and Strachan saying that they deserve to be booed.

The former Manchester United defender doesn’t think that the pair will be affected by it however, “They’re both two experienced players who can take it I’m sure. If anything it’ll make them play better I hope.”

McGrath thinks that McQueen, who was capped 30 times for Scotland, is just trying to create tension in the build-up to the match and feels that it won’t have an effect on Martin O’Neill.

That’s just Gordon trying to stoke the fires and I don’t think it’ll work with Martin because Martin is a very shrewd man.”

Much of the pre-game talk has been about the atmosphere and the potential hostility. McGrath is a player that is well experienced at playing in such climates. 21 years ago Ireland played Northern Ireland in Windsor Park in a game that determined whether or not they would qualify for USA ’94 and, despite the hostile environment, it’s a game McGrath remembers with fondness.

“You could [feel the hatred from the stands]. We were out warming up and you could not only feel it but you could hear it. There would have been [racist chants] but I wouldn’t have expected anything different to be honest. It inspired me not to let them get the better of me.”

Ireland go into Friday’s game three points ahead of Scotland in Group D and McGrath thinks that can be extended to six.

“I think it’s going to be a very tough game, the Scots are on a par with us at the moment. They’re not dropping too many points either and I thought they were very unlucky against Germany. I think Ireland have come together more as a squad now, they’re more of a team and that’s what I love that Martin and Roy have done with them. I think we can go to Scotland and win.”

Have you a ticket for Scotland v Ireland? Where are you sitting?

Former Ireland U21 international goes from the football pitch to the classroom

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