Belfast Telegraph

Jim Shaw confirms talks are ongoing over Scotland v Northern Ireland friendly

By Stuart McKinley

The Irish FA is close to agreeing a friendly with Scotland next spring.

Talks have taken place between the IFA and their Scottish counterparts about a match at Hampden Park in the week leading up to Northern Ireland's next Euro 2016 qualifier against Finland on Sunday, March 29.

An exact date for the match hasn't yet been nailed down, with either Wednesday, March 25 or Thursday, March 26 a possibility.

"I haven't seen a final agreement, but we are talking with the Scots about it," confirmed IFA President Jim Shaw.

"Both associations were seeking a friendly ahead of European Championship qualifiers and for us a short journey was key and going to Scotland is very accommodating."

Northern Ireland are also expected to play at least one friendly in late May or early June, possibly at Windsor Park, ahead of the European Championship qualifier at home to Romania on June 13.

Manager Michael O'Neill is understood to be keen to bridge the gap between the end of the domestic season and that game - which will be some six weeks for those who play outside the Premier League in England.

"Michael O'Neill approves everything with regards to friendlies and he would probably know the finer details better than me, but I am aware that there is a gap between the end of the season and the match against Romania - who, having seen them last week, I believe are the strongest team in the group," said Shaw.

"It would seem sensible to play one or two matches in order to give the players the best preparation."

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