Six ways the Republic of Ireland could line up against Scotland 7 years ago

Six ways the Republic of Ireland could line up against Scotland

We need to win.

To do that, believe it or not, we need to score.


The Republic of Ireland welcome Scotland to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday (kick off: 5pm) two points behind both Gordon Strachan's men and the qualification slots.

After two goalless draws against Northern Ireland and England last week, there is growing concern trying to figure out where these crucial - these imperative - right hooks are going to come from within the Ireland ranks.

The team grabbed an injury time equaliser against Poland - a corner that broke in the box - but Martin O'Neill will want to see some form of method or pattern or clear way that the Republic can get ahead against the Scots this weekend. Some way they can hurt them. And continue to do so.

That has been missing so far in this campaign and so, too, has a Martin O'Neill stamp.


There's nothing in the team to date that you could point to and say this has the Derry man written all over it. Nothing to say that's his thing.

We don't even have a settled 11 yet.

And it puts team selection right up in the air ahead of the weekend.

We can, however, assume that these seven players are guaranteed starters against Scotland.



The front four is the most unpredictable. And yet the front four is the most important. It's what we need ticking if we're to win on Saturday.

There are a number of ways the team could set up even with those seven places above set in stone.

Here's how the side lined out against England on Sunday.


v England

O'Neill went with a bit of a diamond which, initially, had England on the back foot.

Whelan sat deep and allowed McCarthy to push on and, with the two lads up top, the opposition defence had a few early headaches.

But when the English started to boss possession, the diamond was virtually non existent and the side lost shape.

If they were to try that against Scotland, it would probably look like this.




Robbie Keane and Shane Long have more than enough about them to bother a Scottish defence.

The LA Galaxy player could drop off the striker just as naturally as McGoldrick does as well and Wes Hoolahan tucking inside off the right frees up our best player Seamus Coleman to bomb down the flank from full back.



Something more orthodox could keep things simple for the team.

Get it down the wings, get the ball in and all that.

There are four wide men who could get at Scotland, there's a big man and a finisher in the box.

Setting up this way means no Wes Hoolahan though and it also means playing just two men in the middle against Scotland's midfield trio. It won't happen.



Ah, the good old days.

Something similar, just more disciplined. Two banks of four to keep the Scots at bay and Long and Keane up top to chase after whatever they're sent. They could stretch Scotland on their own.

It's hard to see where we'd score playing with the Trapattoni shackles on though.

Plus, we're not playing the world champions. We're playing Scotland. At home. In a must-win game.



This is how Ireland will almost certainly set up.

It's the same way they did against Poland except with Shane Long up top instead of Robbie Keane. O'Neill has hinted that he could start without a 'natural' goalscorer and this 11 looks to be his safest option.

It all rests on Hoolahan threading through Long though. And then on Long delivering the goods.



Things only changed for Ireland though in the second half against the Poles when they made a few changes.

The side were actually very, very good in those final 45 minutes and there was a bit of a buzz around the country in the aftermath of it.

It's just the nature of international football that it has since died down.

Jon Walters was brought in from wide to go up top and Robbie Keane was given a licence to go and get on the ball. James McClean lit the place up with pure enthusiasm and Hoolahan on the right in the 'Mata role' didn't detract from the side's best ball-player.

This could be the best option.



We could just go for it.

Three forwards in the advanced roles, three midfielders to rival Scotland's Brown, Fletcher and Maloney (probably) triangle and plenty of ways of putting the visitors on the back foot.

The Shane Long dilemma circles every international break. Some people clamour for his inclusion, others like him but just don't know where to play him.

Ronald Koeman has gotten serious return out of deploying the Southampton attacker out wide in a front three. O'Neill wouldn't stray so drastically in such a big game but it could be worth thinking about at some stage if needed.