Stephen Kenny is anticipating a great match and a great occasion as Ireland face Scotland at historic Hampden Park.
The Republic of Ireland travel to Glasgow to face the Scottish side on Saturday as this year’s UEFA Nations League draws to a close over the next seven days.
Ireland ended their campaign at home to Armenia on Tuesday, but first face coach Steve Clarke’s side, who will still suffer the 3-0 defeat they suffered in Dublin over the summer.
On that occasion, Michael Obafemi lit the stage with a world-class strike to secure Ireland’s victory, and the manager expects something similar in the rematch between the two Celtic nations.
Despite the outcome, Kenny believes the Scots still represent exciting prospects, most notably at home; A team with several Premier League players in the squad on Saturday.
“We want to finish [the campaign] Kenny said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“It’s a big game. A great match. Ireland vs Scotland in the Nations League, in Hampden Park, a popular place, we’d be glad to go there.
“Scotland qualified for the European Championships previously, many of their players are playing at the end of the Premier League.”
While Kenny was full of admiration for the Scottish team, he was quick to remind that his team is beginning to show its potential, having competed well with big-name teams over the past 12 months, including Portugal, Belgium, Serbia and Ukraine, before everything from… to win against Scotland.
“They are a very strong team and we are looking forward to playing against them,” Kenny said.
“And we are improving all the time, we definitely feel it. Against some of the big teams we played very well, against Portugal twice, against Belgium and teams like that, so we are looking forward to the matches on Saturday.
“We finished [the last window in June] Strongly, he put in a great performance against Scotland and performance in [Poland against] Ukraine. Both matches against Ukraine were very even.”
Stephen Kenny is delighted that the majority of Ireland’s players start their matches with their clubs, even if a few are in the Premier League. But he says it’s not necessarily a rule to join his team. #RTEsoccer #NationsLeague #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/62aXePSb0u
– RTÉ Soccer (RTEsoccer) September 20 2022
Looking at the match, the manager is delighted to have a fully fit squad traveling, with Andrew Aumopamidel the only player to have pulled out of the original squad due to injury, with Liam Scales arriving from Aberdeen on Monday.
And while Kenny is clearly a fan of the young Norwich defender, who made an immediate impact on the international scene, when he was eventually dumped in Portugal last year, he is glad there are options to cover every position.
“Andrew did a great job early in the season and I think he’s played very well for Norwich,” said Kenny.
“One of the benefits of the influx of new players over the past 18 months is the level of competition in the team has increased and there is a lot of competition and [the centre of defence is] An area in which we are strong.
“We have good options and this is something we have to move on.”
As for Saturday’s hosts, the coach is anticipating a reaction from the hosts, who are looking to maintain their strong form at Hampden Park and will undoubtedly be keen to make up for the 3-0 defeat.
“We have to go to Hampden with great determination because Scotland’s home record is excellent and we’re going to have to put in a really great performance to get a result there, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Kenny. .
“Anything we get we will gain, we have to work hard for each other, show the level of confidence we have shown in the last few games, which we have shown over a period of time, except for the Armenia game, obviously.
“All the other games we’ve shown a lot of confidence and quality over the past few months, the players are more confident, they have a clear idea of what we want, and a very exciting style of play as well.
“The players are good in all areas of the park and we want to continue that and take that into the game on Saturday.”
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