International matches have a bad reputation for being tame encounters and fans can’t wait to have their competitive Premier League games back.
However it was far from the case at Celtic Park last night where Scotland hosted Ireland in an important Euro 2016 Qualifier.
The two national teams showed passion to the end in an old fashioned heated encounter. The game was at a frantic pace from the off and both sides created chances. Strong tackles were flying in from both sides and there was very minimal theatrics throughout, reminding you about how football should be played.
There were strong challenges flying in and the game was at a high tempo, however a moment of quality from Shaun Maloney broke the deadlock in the 74th minute. A cleverly worked corner led to Scott Brown flicking the ball to Shaun Maloney who magnificently curled in his shot.
This is not a first for Maloney as he used the very same corner routine to score against Man Utd in 2012.
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Ireland responded by bringing on Robbie Keane and they put pressure on Scotland right until the end, a late late Ireland free kick rattled the crossbar and Scotland survived the game.
A moment of quality separated the two sides but this game was about hard work and passion. It was a great spectacle and Charlie Mulgrew, who worked his socks off until the end for his nation, exemplified the passion that won Scotland the game.
This was an old fashioned game which was highly entertaining from the off. Scotland got the crucial three points in the end and Ireland will be looking for revenge on their home turf in the return fixture.