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Ireland's call: Ranking the Scottish-born players to play for the Republic

From Owen Coyle to Ray Houghton and everyone in between.

OVER RECENT DAYS, a lot has been made of the potential reaction of home fans when Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy line up for Ireland against the country of their birth in Friday’s Euro 2016 qualifier in Scotland.

They’re far from the first players to make the move across the Irish sea and here we rank the seven players to pull on the green shirt despite being born in Scotland.

7. Owen Coyle

Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Born in Paisley, Coyle’s international senior international career lasted exactly seven minutes when he came on as a late substitute in a 1-0 win over the Netherlands in 1994.

6. Charlie Gallagher

Source: SMG/Press Association Images

Gallagher (top in the above picture), whose parents were from Donegal, was born in Glasgow and won five Scottish titles with Celtic and was part of the European Cup winning squad in 1967, making two appearances, though he didn’t play in the final. Gallagher became the first Scottish born player to play for the Republic of Ireland when he lined out against Turkey the same year. His only other appearance came against Czechoslovakia in a 2-0 loss in Dublin three months later.

5. Bernie Slaven

Source: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Slaven, who qualified for Ireland through his grandfather, has the honour of being the first Irish player to score in the Premier League. He was named in Jack Charlton’s 1990 World Cup squad but didn’t see any game time. Slaven’s only goal in his seven international appearances came against Wales in a friendly in a build up to the tournament.

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4. James McCarthy

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

McCarthy has yet to find the back of the net for Ireland – if you don’t count his own goal against Serbia in March – in his 24 appearances since making his debut against Brazil in March 2010. McCarthy’s mother’s family are from Donegal and the Everton player resisted advances from then Scotland boss George Burley. Given how long he’s been around – making his club debut at 15 – it’s easy to forget McCarthy is only 24.

3. Tommy Coyne

Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

It took Coyne just 27 minutes to score on his international debut to help Ireland to a 2-1 friendly win over Switzerland in 1992. The striker, born in Govan, would score five more goals in his 22 games for the Republic, with three of his caps coming at the 1994 World Cup. He holds the proud record of winning every international game he ever scored in.

2.  Aiden McGeady

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Since making his debut in a friendly against Jamaica over ten years ago, Glasgow born Aiden McGeady has amassed over 70 appearances for his country but it wasn’t until Ireland’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia that he scored his first goal. He has added another three to that tally including a crucial brace against Georgia in September.

1. Ray Houghton

Source: CuChoileain/YouTube

Another Glasgow born player on our list, Houghton didn’t score many goals for Ireland but they tended to be crucial ones. His winner against England at Euro 88 was his first while nobody over the age of 30 will forget his chip against the Italians at World Cup 94. Houghton finished with 73 caps and six goals.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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