McClean: Scots under pressure

Date published: Thursday 11th June 2015 5:47

Gordon Strachan’s Scotland side will enter Saturday’s showdown in Dublin level on points with world champions Germany in pursuit of leaders Poland in the race for a place in France next summer.

However, victory for the home side at the Aviva Stadium would see Martin O’Neill’s team, currently trailing Scotland by two points, go above them, and pile the pressure on their international rivals.

McClean said: “The pressure is on them as well – if they lose the game, we go ahead of them, so there’s pressure on both teams and make no mistake about it, we’ll be going out all guns blazing to try to get the win.

“It’s like an international derby. Both teams don’t want to lose – both teams didn’t want to lose in November either, and that’s what made it a tight, scrappy affair.

“But look, we know we need to win this game on Saturday, so hopefully we come flying out of the blocks and we take the game to them.”

That November fixture in Glasgow saw the home side run out 1-0 winners courtesy of Shaun Maloney’s second-half strike on a night when Ireland failed to hit the heights.

While Irish supporters will hope for an improved performance on their Parkhead showing, McClean admits he does not care how they play as long as they get the victory they need.

He said: “Prior to the Scotland game, we’d had a bright start to the group and we want to build on that come Saturday.

“They beat us in November and we didn’t perform by any means in a tight, scrappy game. But look, if it’s a tight, scrappy game on Saturday, hopefully we can nick this one.

“We are right in the group and we’ll take the game to Scotland. But whether it’s an exciting performance or it’s a dull performance, if we get three points, we’re not really bothered either way.

“We have had other games since then, so you can’t dwell on it too much. But this game has come around now, it’s Scotland that’s the next game and would be nice to put November’s game right.

“If it’s a scrappy game and it takes an own goal in the last minute, then so be it.”

McClean has been used as a substitute by O’Neill in recent games, announcing his arrival in March’s 1-1 draw against the Poles with a crunching tackle, and he says he will not shy away from using his physicality as an asset.

He said: “I was just playing my normal game. I have got something like 13 bookings this season at club level, so I think that speaks for itself.

“That’s my game; I’ll play my normal game. The way that the sport is going now, if you look at someone the wrong way, you get a yellow card.

“It’s a team game, it’s not about yourself. If you have to cover back and pick up your man, then so be it. It helps the team and if you’re helping the team, it all goes towards a good result if everyone is doing their jobs.”

Watch Republic of Ireland v Scotland on Saturday on Sky Sports 1/5 from 4pm

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