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Robbie playing it clever ahead of Scots clash

ROBBIE Keane says he'll play it safe in his bid to improve on his fitness ahead of next week's Euro qualifier with Scotland.

Keane has been excused from the Irish squad for Sunday's friendly with England so he can remain with his club and, hopefully, play for LA Galaxy against Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow, before heading to Dublin then.

"I look forward to getting some minutes in the second half [against Vancouver], that would be the most clever thing to do at the moment as I was a long time out," said Keane, who missed seven games for his club with a groin injury.

"So the last thing anyone wants is for it to happen again coming into the second half of the season.

"But I feel really good and it's about being clever, it's not about the physical side, it's about not pushing it too much that would set me back, I don't feel it will but it's about being over-cautious."

Galaxy struggled in the seven games which Keane missed, though he did make a return with two sub appearances in recent weeks.

Boss Bruce Arena omitted him from the squad for last week's game away to New England Revolution but that was explained as a precautionary measure due to fears that the artificial pitch could cause Keane a set-back.

Whether to start Keane or not is one of the big issues for Martin O'Neill to ponder ahead of the Scotland tie, with the Ireland boss praising the display of Daryl Murphy - top scorer across the divisions in England last season - in the friendly game against Northern Ireland yesterday.

Keane was, of course, dropped for the qualifier away to Scotland in November but was reinstated for the home tie with Poland in March and that was the first competitive game in some time where Keane completed the 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, Gordon Strachan has told his players to be sensible in their friendly with Qatar today and avoid an injury which would rule them out of the Ireland qualifier.

"I had a radar on me that I could see a tackle coming a mile away - I just hope the players have got the same radar," says Strachan ahead of the Easter Road game with Qatar.

"The lads will give everything in terms of physical ability. But I really don't want to see people clattering into each other.

"They have to be sensible. But when you let players go and enjoy a game then you never know. They will go for things. I don't think I can say to Scott Brown don't tackle somebody. But there might be points during the game when you say that tackle isn't worth going for."

Euro 2016