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Home fans won't target duo: McGhee


Mark McGhee does not believe Republic duo Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy will be subject to booing

Mark McGhee does not believe Republic duo Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy will be subject to booing

Mark McGhee does not believe Republic duo Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy will be subject to booing

Mark McGhee believes respect rather than rancour will dominate Scotland's European Championship qualifier against Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park on Friday night.

Much of the attention will be on the visitors' Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy, two Scottish-born players who opted to play for the country of their grandparents.

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan has no problem with the Tartan Army booing the duo as long as it is for footballing reasons, but former Scotland defender Gordon McQueen insists they deserve "a horrible reception" for pledging their allegiance to Ireland.

Assistant manager McGhee, however, does not believes the Scotland supporters will target McGeady and McCarthy.

Speaking at Scotland's Mar Hall training complex, where the Scots will prepare for the crucial Group D encounter with Martin O'Neill's side as well as the friendly against England the following Tuesday, he said: "I can't imagine that. I really can't see that.

"There are two groups of players and staff who know each other and who have a huge amount of respect for each other.

"I sat beside Martin O'Neill last week at Brentford.

"I think it has the makings of a hugely competitive game, but I think it is a game that will be played in the best spirit.

"I don't think there will be any other issues.

"Anything else will be drowned out by the support that hopefully the Scotland fans give their own team, rather than wasting energy on anything else.

"I know from European nights that the atmosphere that can be generated at Parkhead, like Ibrox, is just sensational.

"With the magnitude of this game, you would expect there to be as good an atmosphere at a Scotland game as there has been for a long time.

"It is a home game for us, not for them. We have a huge support behind us, we couldn't be set up better."

Optimism around Scotland continues to grow after taking four points from their first three fixtures, including a 2-2 draw with Poland in Warsaw in their last outing.

However, McGhee admits their points tally is no more than expected as they welcome a buoyant Irish side who have seven points from their opening three games and are behind group leaders Poland only on goal difference following a confidence-boosting 1-1 draw in Germany .

"As far as I am concerned all we have achieved so far is the minimum that would be expected from us," said the former Scotland striker.

"We got a point away against Poland and we beat Georgia at home. I don't think anyone expected us to beat Germany away or take anything from them.

"I think any less than that (four points) and we would be sitting here worrying.

"Republic of Ireland have made a slightly better start as they have gone to Germany and got a draw and have beaten Georgia away from home.

"I am not saying it makes them favourites, I'd like to think home advantage will count for something.

"But they have arguably made a better start than us so we have to catch them up.

"This game will go a long way to decide whether we do or don't qualify.

"It is not decisive by an means.

"It is not a 'must-win' or 'must-not-lose' game, but a win would give either team a huge advantage."

McGhee is bracing himself for a British-style cup tie between two sides he believes are a "mirror image" of each other..

"I think there will be a slightly different tone to it than there would be against a more continental team, whether it is Poland or any of the others," said the former Motherwell and Aberdeen boss.

"We have players from the Premier League and the Championship and a few from Scotland.

"They pretty much draw their players from the same clubs.

"I sat beside Martin at Brentford and there were four of our squad and three of their squad playing for Derby.

"We are going to the same places for our players so I think we are evenly-matched in that respect."