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Live Commentary: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text commentary of the Euro 2016 qualifying draw between the Republic of Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
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Scotland fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland in their Euro 2016 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Jonathan Walters gave Ireland the lead with a close-range finish after Daryl Murphy's header had been saved, although he appeared to be standing in an offside position.

At the start of the second half, Shaun Maloney's curling strike took a deflection off John O'Shea and found the bottom corner to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.

Find out how the action unfolded below.


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Hello everyone! Our coverage of the Euro 2016 qualifiers continues this evening with a massive clash in Group D. With a place at next year's tournament in France on the line, will it be the Republic of Ireland or Scotland who are celebrating by the final whistle?



There is not much to choose between the two teams and it is looking incredibly tight in Group D. Poland lead the way on 11 points, with world champions Germany and Scotland just behind on 10. Ireland are further back on eight points, while Georgia and Gibraltar prop up the table.

In today's over games, Poland are at home to Georgia, while Germany make the trip to Gibraltar. You would not expect either of those teams to slip up, meaning that a place at the Euros could be out of the reach of Ireland or Scotland should there be a loser this evening.

It does appear that today's match could be to decide which team finishes in third place. As there are going to be 24 teams in France next year, that would be enough to reach the playoffs, although the best third-placed team will qualify directly to the finals.

Right, we'll take a closer look at each country in just a bit, but first let me bring you the all-important team news from Dublin.

IRELAND XI: Given, Coleman, Brady, Wilson, O'Shea, McCarthy, Whelan, Hendrick, Hoolahan, Walters, Murphy

SCOTLAND XI: Marshall, Hutton, Forsyth, Martin, Mulgrew, Maloney, Morrison, Brown, Naismith, Ritchie, S. Fletcher

IRELAND SUBS: Forde, Westwood, Keogh, McClean, Meyler, Christie, Ward, Quinn, McGoldrick, McClean, McGeady, Long, Keane

SCOTLAND SUBS: Whittaker, Anya, D.Fletcher, Adam, Greer, Robertson, Forrest, Griffiths, Samson, Berra, McArthur

So, thats how the two teams will be lining up this afternoon. As you can see, Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has gone with the pairing of Daryl Murphy and Jonathan Walters up front. Robbie Keane is on the bench after the death of two of his cousins in a work accident in Dublin, while Shane Long and Aiden McGeady are also named among the substitutes.

There is also a return in goal for Shay Given, who came on for Keiren Westwood in the draw against England. Another change to the starting XI from that match last weekend sees Wes Hoolahan come into the midfield, but it is the same back four, with John O'Shea and Marc Wilson at the centre of the defence.

Meanwhile, Steven Fletcher will lead the line for Scotland this evening, with Matt Ritchie and Steven Naismith providing him with support in the attack. Shaun Maloney, who scored the winner against Ireland last November, is further back in the midfield with James Morrison and Scott Brown.

Let's continue our build up to the match with a look at both countries, starting with tonight's hosts. It hasn't been the worst of qualifying campaigns for Ireland, but they really need a positive result tonight to put themselves back in the mix after three games without a win.

They had beaten Georgia and Gibraltar in their opening fixtures, before John O'Shea's stoppage-time goal salvaged a memorable 1-1 draw against world champions Germany. They were unable to replicate that in their next match against Scotland, with Shaun Maloney's scoring to subject them to a 1-0 defeat in Glasgow.

Scotland's midfielder Shaun Maloney celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the Euro 2016 Qualifier, Group D football match between Scotland and Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland on November 14, 2014© Getty Images


The pressure was on in their last match against Poland back in March and it looked as if they would suffer another loss after Slawomir Peszko put the visitors ahead in Dublin. However, Martin O'Neill's side dug deep and Shane Long struck in injury time to rescue them a precious point.

That was their last competitive match, but they have been in action since, playing England last weekend. It's safe to say that it was not the most entertaining game of all time, as the two countries played out a turgid goalless draw, with barely anything to get excited about.

It has also been a good qualifying campaign for Scotland, who are only a point behind leaders Poland in the group and level with the Germany. They couldn't have had a much tougher start, as they faced the World Cup holders away from home, but to their credit they produced a good display and were unfortunate to suffer a 2-1 defeat.

They bounced back a month later to beat Georgia, before they were held to a 2-2 draw by Poland. Their last two games have ended with victories over Ireland and Gibraltar and they will be hoping to keep that run going as they look to qualify for their first European Championships since 1996.

Scotland's striker Steven Naismith (2nd L) celebrates after scoring their fourth goal during the Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Scotland and Gibraltar at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland on March 29, 2015© Getty Images


That tournament in England was only the second time they had reached the Euros, following the previous finals that took place in Sweden. Ireland have also only been able to reach the event just twice in their history, failing to make it out of the group stages in 1988 and 2012.

This will be the 11th meeting between the two teams, with each country winning four games apiece and sharing a couple of draws. In their last match at the Aviva Stadium four years ago, it was Ireland who ran out winners, with Robbie Keane scoring the sole goal in a 1-0 victory.

PREDICTION: This is such a tough game to call, with so much riding on the outcome. It is bound to be a tight and cagey affair and a repeat of the earlier meeting in Glasgow is not out of the question. I must admit that I'm finding it hard to call a winner, so I'm going to sit on the fence and predict a 1-1 draw by the end of the match.

The teams are now both out on the pitch at a packed Aviva Stadium. We are about to hear the national and anthems and after that we will be just about ready for the start of the match!

KICKOFF! We are underway at the Aviva Stadium!

Ireland have made a very positive start to the match and they are taking the game to their opponents. It looks like O'Neill wants his team to grab an early goal, that would really get the crowd going.

Despite the home side's good start, it's Scotland who work the first effort on goal through Naismith. However, the Everton man makes a mess of his strike and scuffs it well wide of the target.

The hosts are seeing all of the ball and they are getting it into some great positions out wide. It's mainly going down the right-hand side of the pitch, but so far the Scottish defence have dealt well with all of the crosses into their box.

SAVE! Scotland have looked dangerous whenever they have got into the final third and Fletcher shows his threat when he picks the ball up just outside the box and fires in a powerful strike that has to be tipped over the bar by Given.

I spoke about Ireland getting into some good areas out wide and this time Brady gets free down the left. He then whips in a superb cross towards the back post, but it is just out of Murphy's reach and the striker can't quite stretch enough to make any contact.

SHOT! Ireland are stringing together some moves and they do well to work it to Hoolahan in space around 25 yards out. The Norwich man then gets the ball out of his feet and hammers an effort goalwards, but it goes harmlessly over the bar.

YELLOW CARD! Whelan is shown the first yellow card of the match for a late challenge on Fletcher just outside the box. It has given Scotland a great chance from the free kick and Maloney is standing over the ball ready to deliver it into the box.

The ball is whipped into the middle, but it ends up taking a touch of Fletcher and going out of play for a goal kick. That was a good chance for the Scots and a set piece really could prove to be the difference between the sides today, as it was in Glasgow last year.

Scotland are enjoying a good spell at the moment and they are putting the Irish defence under a bit of pressure. It does seem like both teams will have these good periods of possession in the match, with the game being played at a very high tempo.

Apart from Fletcher's early strike that was tipped over by Given, we haven't seen any other chances on goal from either country. There has actually been just three shots on goal combined, with only one of those finding the target.

YELLOW CARD! McCarthy is the second Irishman to be booked this evening for catching Martin as the two challenged each other for the ball. It led to a little bit of a confrontation between the teams, but the situation was quickly diffused by the referee.

Ireland are still causing plenty of danger down the right, with Coleman getting in behind once again. He then looks to drill in a low cross, but Scotland get plenty of men back and block his cross before it can find any of his teammates.

SAVE! This is about as close as Ireland have come to scoring all evening. Whelan floats in a cross from the right that is met by Murphy in the middle, but his header towards the top corner is tipped over by Marshall.

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-0 Scotland (Jonathan Walters)

Ireland have not threatened too much in this first half, but they have taken a crucial lead with seven minutes left until the break. It's Walters who scores, as he touches the ball in from close range after Marshall saves Murphy's header from a corner. The replays show that Walters was probably offside, but it was not spotted by the referee and Ireland won't care one bit.

That goal has provided a major boost and the fans are in full voice here. Scotland will feel hard done by if they do head into the break trailing, as they had defended so well up until the goal.

Brady's corners are causing real problems for the visitors and his latest delivery is only just scrambled clear by the defence. I did say that a set piece could be the difference and it has proved to be the case.

We are going to have two minutes of stoppage time.

HALF-TIME: Republic of Ireland 1-0 Scotland

We've reached the halfway stage of this evening's match in Dublin and it's Ireland who have the lead. Jonathan Walters was on hand to tap in from close range from a corner, but there will be controversy if that proves to be the winner, as the Stoke player was standing in an offside position.

As things stand, Ireland have moved up to second place in the Group D table and they are now one point above Germany and Scotland. Poland still lead the way, but they are currently being held to a goalless draw by Georgia. It's half time in that match as well, while Germany play Gibraltar later this evening.

Ireland just about shaded the opening 45 minutes and they enjoyed a touch more possession than their opponents. They also had seven shots on goal, compared to just two from Scotland, and crucially they now have a precious lead.

Ireland take the kick off and get the match back underway!

SUBSTITUTION: There's been a change made by Scotland at the start of the half, with Anya coming on to replace Ritchie.

GOAL! Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland (John O'Shea own goal)

Maloney scored the winning goal when these teams last met and now he has played a vital role in helping Scotland to find an equaliser at the start of the second half. The winger is picked out on the edge of the box by Anya and he works the ball onto his left foot, before curling in a strike which takes a wicked deflection off O'Shea, before ending up in the bottom corner and out of the reach of the stranded Given.

CHANCE! What a start to the half it's been here. Ireland almost retake their lead as Murphy is slipped in down the left, before seeing his low shot blocked by the feet of Marshall, before the rebound is scrambled behind for a corner.

The atmosphere is electric in Dublin and it is starting to get fired up out on the pitch. We have seen some heavy tackles coming in from both teams and I wouldn't be surprised to see Nicola Rizzoli hand out a few more bookings.

Murphy has been one of the best players on the pitch this afternoon for the hosts and the Scottish defence just can't handle him. His pace is causing all manner of problems and he has justified his place ahead of his more established international colleagues.

It has just settled down a bit over the past couple of minutes, but the urgency from the home side is still there. They know that a win is vital for them this afternoon and a draw could leave them with a mountain to climb if they want to reach the Euros.

Here's some news from the other Group D match taking place at the moment. Poland have just taken the lead against Georgia, with Arkadiusz Milik finding the back of the net. As things stand, Poland will move up to 14 points and three ahead of Scotland in the table.

Anya has made a great impact since he was brought on at half time and he has injected some real pace and trickery into the Scotland attack. He shows his skill again by getting to the byline and whipping in a cross that takes a big deflection and forces Given to punch the ball clear, with Fletcher lurking at the back post.

SUBSTITUTION: Ireland are going to make their first change of the match, with McClean coming on for Whelan.

Ireland are piling on the pressure at the moment and they are delivering a number of great crosses into the box. Brady has teased a couple of superb deliveries from the left, but the Scots are able to hang on.

SUBSTITUTION: A huge roar goes up around the ground as Keane is brought on to replace Hoolahan. He has had such a difficult week and the fans show their appreciation that he has made himself available to play today.

SHOT! Keane almost makes an immediate impact as he is allowed time and space to work a shot on the edge of the box. He then fires in a powerful low strike, but it's straight at Marshall who makes a simple stop.

Ireland are seeing all of the ball at the moment as they keep pressing for a winner. They haven't been able to get in behind their opponents' defence on too many occasions today, but they are now looking to pick out the runs of Keane.

SUBSTITUTION: Ireland make their third and final change of the match, with Long coming on to replace Murphy.

SHOT! This really could have gone anywhere. Scotland win a rare corner and the ball is knocked back across goal and into the path of Naismith. The striker then fires in a powerful effort, but it is blocked by a host of bodies just in front the keeper.

CLOSE! Down the other end of the pitch Ireland threaten from a corner. Brady delivers another wonderful delivery with his left foot which McClean arrives to meet at the front post, but Maloney gets a vital touch to divert it narrowly wide.

SUBSTITUTION: It's a second change of the match for Scotland, with McArthur replacing Brown for the last five minutes.

YELLOW CARDS! McClean and Naismith argue with each other by the touchline and they then appear to clash heads. Rizzoli is quickly in to once again to take the heat out of the situation and he ends up showing both players a yellow card. It has been a top performance from the Italian official, who has kept things from boiling over on more than one occasion.

There are going to be at least three minutes of stoppage time. Will that be enough for either side to find a late winner?

SUBSTITUTION: Scotland are making a late change, with Berra coming on to replace Naismith.

FULL-TIME: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland

The final whistle blows in Dublin and Scotland have come from behind to earn a vital point. They came out fighting at the start of the second half and a fortuitous own goal from John O'Shea means that their hopes of reaching the Euros are still in tact, while Ireland look as if they will now face a real struggle to get to France.

That's it for our coverage this evening. We've got more live international football to bring you across the weekend, so stay with us for all of the latest action. Until next time, goodbye!

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Scotland's defender Grant Hanley vies with Republic of Ireland's goalkeeper David Forde during the Euro 2016 Qualifier, Group D football match between Scotland and Republic of Ireland at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland on November 14, 2014
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