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Gordon Strachan not bothered by Irish links to Celtic Park stadium


Home patch: Gordon Strachan is confident over Parkhead

Home patch: Gordon Strachan is confident over Parkhead


Home patch: Gordon Strachan is confident over Parkhead

Gordon Strachan reminded Republic of Ireland they will be entering Scotland "territory" in tonight's 2016 European Championship qualifier at Celtic Park.

With Hampden Park still out of commission due to its use in this summer's Commonwealth Games, the Scots played their first Group D game against Georgia at Ibrox, with Parkhead hosting the Irish match and Tuesday night's friendly with England.

Much has been made of Irish boss Martin O'Neill being a former Hoops manager with his assistant Roy Keane, skipper Robbie Keane, Aiden McGeady, Shay Given, Daryl Murphy having played for the club and Anthony Stokes currently a striker with the Scottish champions.

There has also been much speculation as to how many travelling fans over and above the 3,200 or so official supporters will be among the crowd, which is edging towards its 60,000 capacity.

However, Strachan, a former Celtic manager himself, yesterday said: "I thought the Scottish fans turned Ibrox into the home of Scotland for the day and we will do that tomorrow.

"We will turn Celtic Park into the home of Scottish football and you will know fine well you are in Scotland tomorrow night.

"We are quite familiar with Celtic Park as well (as some of the Irish), most of our players have played there. But as I say, it is not going to be Celtic Park, tomorrow it is Scotland's park.

"There will be 50,000 plus Scotland fans in there. That is Scotland's territory and they are coming into Scotland's territory.

"Whatever I have heard there (at Celtic's Champions League nights) is phenomenal and I am looking for the same experience.

"I hope the players and everybody gets it tomorrow but in a different way because it is a different set of people.

"It will be different in many ways but the home players will use that atmosphere."

The Scotland boss was aware that a lot of attention in the game turned overnight towards the Republic's assistant manager Keane, a player he signed for Celtic.

A Garda spokesman confirmed officers received reports of an incident at a hotel in Dublin on Wednesday, following which O'Neill has expressed his "full support" for Keane.

Asked in a roundabout way about the Keane incident, Strachan responded in a light-hearted fashion by referencing his own assistant, Mark McGhee.

"I have to deal with McGhee every day and when you get beat by him at Scrabble it is a nightmare," said Strachan, whose side have four points from three games, three behind the Republic.

"So I have my own problems as well. Two hours of scrabble last night and I got beat. I wasn't a happy man."

Belfast Telegraph