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Given: Scotland wish McCarthy and McGeady were playing for them

Ireland’s former number one is adamant that any abuse from home fans won’t get to his Ireland team-mates.

Given would love to be involved at Celtic Park.
Given would love to be involved at Celtic Park.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

IRELAND GOALKEEPER SHAY Given believes recent comments made in the media about James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady were “out of order”.

The Glasgow-born pair, who both ply their trade in the Premier League with Everton, have been the subject of much discussion ahead of Friday’s qualifer and Scotland boss Gordon Strachan and ex-international Gordon McQueen have both suggested that they will be booed at Celtic Park.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Given is confident, however, that both McCarthy and McGeady are experienced enough to deal with any abuse that may come their way and says the bad blood is most likely due to jealousy.

“I felt the comments were a little bit out of order in the last couple of days,” said Given. “I think the Scottish team have got some players who weren’t born in Scotland as well so it was unfair on both James and Aiden to get personal.

“They’re both great players and they will be ready for Friday night. They will be right up for it.

“Of course they can (use it as motivation). They are very good players in their own right and are top of their game at the minute as well. You could go around every country in Europe and say there are players born in different countries so I did think it was unfair.

“You could go through the Scottish squad and see that some of their players are not born in Scotland and that’s not having a go at them. It’s just the rules of FIFA.

They are great players and that’s probably why we’re standing here talking about them — because they probably wish they were playing for Scotland.

“I’ve not really spoken to them about it to be honest,” he added. “I know they’re really talented players and they will be looking forward to going back to Glasgow and putting in a performance. It’s not about them personally, it’s about us getting a result of course.

“The atmosphere will be spicy and they will maybe get a bit of a reaction from the fans but what we do on the pitch is all that matters and I’m sure they’re aware of that.”

James McCarthy 11/11/2014 McCarthy didn't train today. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Ireland are three points ahead of the Scots with two wins and a draw from their opening three Euro 2016 qualifying games but manager Gordon Strachan has rejuvenated the team since taking over in January 2013 it is likely to be an evenly-matched contest.

According to Given, coming away with a draw would be a reasonable outcome but, that said, Ireland are well capable of winning.

“A point wouldn’t be a bad result for either of country but we’re not going to go up there and try and sit back for a draw,” he said. “I think we’ve got some great players going forward.

“It’s hard to always predict what’s going to happen in the game and what the outcome is going to be but we’re away from home and they always say if you can pick up a draw away and win your home games then you’ve got a great chance of qualifying but ideally we’d love to win the game as well.”

Having come out of international retirement earlier this year, 38-year-old Given must be content with playing second fiddle at club and country these days. The legendary stopper, capped 126 times for Ireland, doesn’t expect to start on Friday but insists that he will be ready if called upon.

“My fitness is totally fine but I’ve just not played that many games. I played a few reserve games in recent weeks as well which helps with devision-making and stuff like that but I think David (Forde) is very much the number one at the minute.

“If anything happens then hopefully the manager will have faith to play me.”

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Ben Blake

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