Pearce has brief Scottish memories
ALEX PEARCE is the forgotten man of this week's booing debate. The Reading defender went further down the line with Scotland than Aiden McGeady or James McCarthy ever did by representing them at U-21 level.
But the caveat is that the 26-year-old hails from Oxford and was simply another player the Scots were trying to draft through family connections before he decided to go with his Irish roots. Pearce was not too forthcoming on his background.
His Q & A on the matter proceeded as follows:
"Do you remember any of the players you played with at Scotland?"
"What do you remember of your spell with U-21s?"
"It was very brief. I don't remember a lot."
"Will it be strange playing against them?"
"Not really, no. I'm focused on the Irish now. We're all looking forward to the game."
"Were you made to feel welcome in the Scotland set-up?"
"Yes, of course. There weren't any problems but I'm focused on Ireland and we're all looking forward to the game. It's going to be a great atmosphere."
"Is it your mum who is Scottish?"
"My dad is Irish and my mum's got a bit of Scot in her."
"Was she born in Scotland?"
"I think she was. But my dad's side are Irish."
"Do you have other Scottish relatives who might be watching the game?"
No Sat Nav Needed
A recurring feature around this match is the extent to which the Irish players are familiar with Celtic Park, either through professional or personal visits. Stephen Ward admitted that he'd made a few trips to Glasgow beyond a solitary pre-season Wolves friendly.
"I went to Champions League games, I used to travel up after training on a Tuesday. I saw Man United, Juventus, a couple of games," he said. "It was a really good experience to play there as well. Although it was a pre-season friendly, there was 29,000 fans there and it felt like a league game."
Bet of the day
Boylesports have priced up Ireland's total points from their two games with Scotland and if you're feeling really confident then it's 11/2 about a six-point return. The 3/1 about four points makes some appeal.
Number of the day
5 Goals in Scottish colours recorded by the top international scorer in their squad which happens to be Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher. That return pales in comparison with Robbie Keane's tally of 65.