Celtic Park to host Strachan v O'Neill Euro crunch

CELTIC PARK will host the European Championship clash between Scotland and the Republic of Ireland on November 14.

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Martin O'Neill and Gordon Strachan are set to lock horns at their old stomping ground when Scotland meet the Republic of Ireland in November
Martin O'Neill and Gordon Strachan are set to lock horns at their old stomping ground when Scotland meet the Republic of Ireland in November

Ibrox was also under serious consideration as a venue for the match as Hampden will still be out of commission following its conversion to an athletics stadium for the Commonwealth Games.

But, after long deliberation, the SFA are set to announce Celtic Park will host the game - and spark a rush for tickets from both sides of the Irish Sea.

It will mean a return to Paradise for Martin O'Neill, now in charge of the Republic side, who was manager of Celtic from 2000 until 2005.

His assistant at international level, Roy Keane, also has an association with Parkhead, having played there for half a season before hanging up his boots.

With several of the Irish squad also closely associated with Celtic Park - including Hoops striker, Anthony Stokes - the SFA considered whether or not staging the game there would give the away team some kind of advantage.

However, the current Scotland side is managed by another former Celtic boss, Gordon Strachan. And the squad for the tie is likely to include a handful of current Celtic players, including skipper Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths.

There are also others in the Scots squad with strong links to Parkhead, including Gary Caldwell and Shaun Maloney - both recalled for the friendly against Nigeria at the end of this month -plus keeper David Marshall.

Celtic Park has a bigger capacity than Ibrox. And, with demand for tickets expected to exceed supply, this is another reason why this venue has been selected.

The configuration of the stadium also means a higher percentage of tickets can be assigned to home fans than would be the case at Ibrox.

Scotland will kick off their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign away to Germany in Dortmund on September 7. They then play hosts to Georgia at a venue still to be announced on October 11 before heading to Poland for their third game in Group D.

Up next is the visit of the Republic for the battle of the Celts at Parkhead.

The game against Nigeria at Craven Cottage on May 28 is the final match for Strachan to hone his preparations for the game against group favourites, Germany, in September.

The manager plans to watch Joachim Low's side when they play another team in our group, Poland, in Hamburg tonight.

Strachan has included Griffiths in the squad for the game against Efe Ambrose and the Super Eagles at Craven Cottage, despite the fact the Hoops striker is scheduled to appear at an SFA Disciplinary meeting on May 22 to face charges relating to the alleged singing of songs in a pub about Hearts and their former player, Rudi Skacel.

A police investigation into the incident, which was captured on camera phone, is also being investigated by Police Scotland. However, it is understood that, if found guilty by the SFA, Griffiths will not face a ban, but a fine as the incident did not take place during a match.

Griffiths' Celtic team-mate, Fraser Forster, is also a relieved man after Roy Hodgson included him in his squad for the World Cup finals.


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