McCarthy may not feel clever
Martin O'Neill doesn't want transfer talk interfering with the build-up to Saturday but James McCarthy was the subject of internet speculation yesterday in light of Tom Cleverley's switch to Everton colours.
Cleverley is understood to have joined on superior terms to McCarthy - and that was brought the issue of the Glaswegian's contract to the top of the agenda again because an extension and a bump in his terms has been floated for a while without ever coming to fruition.
Arsenal have scouted the 24-year-old and will be monitoring the situation with interest.
Different German summer in store
Germany have a stress-free summer compared to 12 months ago when they travelled to Brazil to write themselves into the history books.
This time around, their competitive duties consist of an encounter with Gibraltar in Faro on Saturday. Considering that Gibraltar started their campaign with a 7-0 defeat to Poland in their Portuguese base, and then followed it up by losing via the same scoreline in Dublin, the expectation was that a double-figure scoreline was on the cards in November when the minnows landed on German soil.
Instead, they emerged with a lot of credit following a 4-0 defeat which led to serious criticism of Joachim Loew's troops. The anticipation has always been that they will run away with this group yet they've been slow to do so.
They play USA tonight in a warm-up and it may well be that Gibraltar finally feel the full force of the German machine at the weekend. As it stands, the Germans have the worst goal difference of the four qualification contenders; that will surely change.
Scots phrase of the day
'Yer bum's oot the windae'
In the build-up to the Scottish independence referendum last September, BBC's American service decided to give their readers more information about the country by listing some key phrases.
It's unclear if these features ever convert to real life - 'top of the morning to you' would probably feature in an Irish equivalent - but just in case we'll drop in a couple across the week. Today's effort means 'You're talking nonsense' which seems entirely appropriate.
Number of the day
32 Places between Scotland and Ireland in the FIFA rankings. The Scots sit in 28th position while Ireland are down in 60th spot. As recently as 2012, the Tartan Army languished down in 72th so it just goes to show how quickly things can change.