Maloney: Burden is on Ireland

Date published: Wednesday 10th June 2015 4:45

The Scots travel to the Aviva Stadium for their European Qualifier two points ahead of their opponents in Group D.

While a victory for Scotland would keep them in touch with Poland and Germany at the top of the table, the Chicago Fire player insists avoiding defeat will be a positive for the visitors.

And the 32-year-old believes home results could be vital with just three points between pacesetters Poland and fourth place Ireland, although the former Celtic favourite concedes there is still much work to do to secure qualification..

Maloney said: “Pretty much every home game, particularly the way the group is going, every home game is just so important that you really do need to try and win them.

“That pressure just switches over to Ireland and gives us a little bit less pressure, but there are not many international games these days when you don’t feel some pressure.

“I wouldn’t say a win is imperative. I think we’ve had a brilliant start to the group. It’s going to be a tough away match and I think both sides will think they can win it

“I don’t think a win on either side will knock the other side completely out the group, so I don’t think this match is that important or the result won’t dictate the group or the final standings in the group.

Close contest

“But if we were to win it would give us a massive boost going into the last three or four matches.”

Scotland edged a close match between the two countries last November at Celtic Park, when Maloney’s goal 15 minutes from time with a well-worked set-piece secured a 1-0 victory.

And he expects another close contest in the Irish capital this weekend.

“I think it will be a similar match on Saturday to the last one but I can’t see a set piece like that happening again,” Maloney said.

“Have we got any more tricks up our sleeves? We haven’t actually started working on the set-pieces yet but I just can’t see that happening again, there is so much footage on every team nowadays.

“It was a special moment for the team and myself but I’m hoping there’s going to be more and a positive end to the qualifying campaign.

“That goal hasn’t really been shown much out in the US where I’m playing at the moment so I haven’t really watched it. I probably haven’t seen it again since that night. After moments like that sleeping is a bit of struggle. But I hope that it means something come the end of the group.

“We’d take any of our players to score the winner in Saturday’s game. It’s such an important match for both sides, particularly the home side. It doesn’t matter how you score – whether you play brilliantly as a team or you’re solid and get a set-piece goal, we’d take either.”

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