BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – CAPITAL CITY PRESS
Mark Burchill insists there is no chance that Ireland manager Martin O’Neill’s tactics will catch Scotland by surprise in Saturday’s crucial Euro qualifier – because his old Celtic boss only knows how to play one way.
Livingston player/manager Burchill was just a youngster at the Hoops when O’Neill’s route one approach yielded a phenomenal goals return from the legendary Henrik Larsson.
And Burchill insists O’Neill’s tactics have not changed with Ireland over a decade later, only this time it is up to Robbie Keane to find the net.
Scotland travel to Dublin this weekend knowing victory will effectively kill Irish hopes of securing automatic qualification to Euro 2016 from Group D.
Ireland lost to a fantastic Shaun Maloney strike at Celtic Park last November and Burchill does not expect O’Neill to outwit Strachan on Saturday.
He said: “Ireland got criticised for the way they played in the first game but that won’t bother Martin O’Neill.
“I don’t think he is one for a passing philosophy. When I was at Celtic there was not much in terms of patterns of play.
“It was about getting the ball to Henrik and he’ll score. I think he’ll be the same with Ireland and the message will be to get the ball to Robbie Keane and hope he scores.
“Keeping possession was not his style; he wanted to score goals and win football matches, and I don’t think he’ll change too much.
“Ireland looked a bit nervous at Celtic Park in November and probably ended up going too direct.
“But I wouldn’t expect them to come out and play much differently in Dublin this weekend.
“Scotland have been doing really well and I think they’ll beat Ireland because they have a stronger team.”