Josh Cullen believes Ireland will have to strike just the right balance in their UEFA Nations League match with Scotland on Saturday.
Matches between the two sides in general have descended into a derby-style encounter for their Celtic cousins, and the latest match in Dublin is sure to add fuel to the fire that is set to ignite at Hampden Park.
Ireland, of course, Put the Scots to the sword in the reverse game in Junewhich added to the problems of the Tartan Mobile Army, who were already trying to digest their World Cup exit just days before.
Steve Clark’s team entered the current international window full of confidence after a A comprehensive 3-0 win over Ukraine in Hampden on Wednesday nightAnd now the players seem to be getting their revenge as they whet their appetites and that of their costumed fans when Ireland arrives in Glasgow on Saturday night.
However, the Ireland camp was busy doing their own business, enjoying a full week of pre-match preparation, and as if to underscore the fact that they were masters of their own destiny, there was no big deal. Scotland vs Ukraine clash in the team hotel.
There’s no group viewing of the game, players watched it individually, while the manager spoke with the team about it Thursday morning, and Colin was quick to point out that the game, just like the one over the summer, is important. A little before kick-off on Saturday.
“It was a good result from them,” Colin said at a news conference Thursday.
“Their performance was full of energy and it was a good win, but Saturday is a new day and we have to be confident and full of faith that we can get a good result.
“We didn’t see it as a group,” he added. “I’m sure everyone was watching that. And yes this morning we had a meeting and we touched on the performance from Scotland and how they set up and how they performed.
“We still have two days to prepare and speak as a team, but the main focus is on us. We need to make sure we go and perform as best we can.
“But Saturday is a new day in front of a new team and we are going there with a lot of confidence from the preparations we’ve had.”
Confidence appears to be the buzzword in the Ireland camp this week as all players appear to be full of faith after 12 months of gradual improvement as one unit, backed by performance and results.
And Colin believes a lot of that confidence comes from scoring goals, most notably in the Scotland game, where Ireland scored three goals and kept a clean sheet in an excellent all-round match.
“The goals we scored, being clinical in front of goal, a free kick goal – a great goal, a pass from Mickey and a great finish from Troy, and a bit of sparkle from Mickey for the third goal as well,” Colin said, when asked what the team did well in the previous game with Scots.
“As a team we can believe we scored against them and will look to do it again, different types of goals, but across the field we were full of energy and we won individual fights again.”
But the former Anderlecht and West Ham midfielder is stressing the fact that there is a balance to be taken in Saturday’s game, by capitalizing on the positives while accepting that it will be an entirely new challenge.
“No match is the same and it will be a new one on Saturday and we can’t read much about what happened in the summer,” Colin said.
“Obviously we take the positives and the faith from that, but it’s a new day and a new match. We had a good week preparing and we are looking forward to the match now and we want to put in a good performance and try to get a positive result.
“You have to have a balance,” Colin added. “Don’t get me wrong, we’re still looking at the game in the summer and the areas we can improve, not just being concerned that we won 3-0 and everything will be fine.
“There were areas in that match that we sat down and analyzed as a team where we can improve as well, and we’re working on that this week.
“I’m sure the same goes for Scotland, I’m sure they will review their game last night when they won 3-0 and look at areas they can improve.”
Aside from Scotland’s win over Ukraine, the hosts will go into Saturday’s match as group leaders and will also look to build on momentum ahead of next year’s Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The Scottish side is also full of Premier League players, and whether or not it is seen as a retaliatory mission by the home side, Colin said Ireland treat it as a game on its own, with due respect given to the opponent before the match.
“We’re also hungry to go and get another result,” Colin said. “If they see it as a revenge mission or even though they look at the match, we are determined to go there and get three more points and put in another good performance.
“It doesn’t change how I view the game, or how everyone in the camp sees the game.
“Of course, we respect Scotland, they have good players and they are a good team. We then analyzed them and showed full respect for them in our preparations.
“We have analyzed the areas where we think we could hurt them and confront them during the match, and we have analyzed their threats which we are obviously going to try to negate. other”.
Colin, of course, returned to England to play football for his club after two seasons in the Belgian league with Anderlecht, succeeding coach Vincent Kompany from Brussels to Burnley.
A mainstay in the Irish midfield throughout Stephen Kenny’s era is delighted to return to Turf Moor, as his team presses for promotion to the Premier League.
“I really enjoyed it,” Colin said. “It has helped me that I am playing under the same manager and we are trying to apply the same technique that I was used to at Anderlecht under him.
“I enjoy playing my football and I feel a credit to the players at Burnley, it was a change of style to what they are used to and we have done a good job of getting to where we are now.
“I haven’t spoken to him [Kompany] Exactly why he brought it to me, but I take it as a minor compliment because he made the decision to bring me to Burnley.
“The schedule is a lot more hectic than what I’m used to in Belgium where it was mostly one match a week and now you can play three matches in six days.
“It was a bit of a shocker to get used to it, but as a player it’s a lot of fun where you want to play as many games as you can. It’s part of the job. It was something to get used to again but it’s something I love.”
Follow the Republic of Ireland vs Scotland match on Saturday (kick-off at 7.45pm) via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sports and the RTÉ News app, watch live on RTÉ 2 and RTÉ Player, or listen to national radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1