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Cup is two-horse affair - Davis


Steven Davis

Steven Davis

Steven Davis

Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis has predicted a straight fight between the Republic of Ireland and Scotland to claim the Carling Nations Cup.

The Republic cruised to a 5-0 win over their neighbours at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday night to surge to the top of the group. They headed into the match having already notched up a 3-0 win over Wales in their opening match in February, with the Scots securing the same scoreline against Northern Ireland.

Craig Levein's men do battle with Wales on Wednesday night and, despite suffering a humiliating 3-0 thrashing in Cardiff the last time the two nations met in November 2009, Davis fully expects Scotland to come out on top. Davis said: "It will be a good contest on Wednesday night as well but I think Scotland should shade it."

Such a scenario would then set up a mouth-watering clash between the Republic and Scotland in the tournament's final match on Sunday.

He added: "Scotland have got a strong side over here so I think it's going to be between them and the Republic to see who wins it."

Robbie Keane grabbed a double and debutants Stephen Ward and Simon Cox were also on the scoresheet against Northern Ireland on Tuesday night. Craig Cathcart - fresh from the pain of his relegation battle with Blackpool - netted an own goal and Adam Thompson saw red on a disappointing night for Northern Ireland.

Davis added: "We always knew it going to be difficult. The final result was a big blow for us.

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"When you look at the goals we conceded, four out of the five goals were avoidable. That was the biggest thing for us, the manner of the defeat. We had a lot of young players who came in and it was a steep learning curve for them."

Davis has been an ever-present in the Rangers team this season, helping them to a domestic double after the Scottish champions beat rivals Celtic to both the Co-operative Insurance Cup and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title.

He said: "Going down to 10 men definitely didn't help. I've played a lot of games - 60-odd games this season - so it has been a difficult season and I'm looking forward to getting a break."

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