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Given slams Scottish hypocrisy after Gordon McQueen outburst

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Shay Given leaves the pitch after the Irish training session at Malahide yesterday. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Shay Given leaves the pitch after the Irish training session at Malahide yesterday. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

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Kevin Doyle has been ruled out of the Scotland game with a groin injury. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Kevin Doyle has been ruled out of the Scotland game with a groin injury. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Martin O'Neill

Martin O'Neill

SPORTSFILE

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Shay Given leaves the pitch after the Irish training session at Malahide yesterday. David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Shay Given has lashed out at Gordon McQueen for urging the Celtic Park crowd to give Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy a 'horrible' reception during Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier and says that any Scottish criticism of the Irish converts is hypocritical.

The veteran goalkeeper was angered by the outburst from former Scotland and Manchester United defender McQueen who said he had 'no time' for the Glaswegian duo that declared for Ireland in their youth.

Gordon Strachan has suggested that he would have no problem with booing of the pair once it didn't veer into nastiness although his opposite number Martin O'Neill responded yesterday by quipping that he was unaware of such a concept as 'gentle booing'.

But it was Given, a former Celtic youth, who came out with the strongest response in defence of his colleagues.

"The comments were unfair as some of the Scottish players were born in England," said Given. "It can't be one rule for Ireland and one rule for others. They are in the exact same situation, so some of the comments were a wee bit personal and a wee bit over the top.

Tension

"I just think there is no need to go to that sort of level," he continued, after clarifying he was referring to McQueen. "The rules are there and every country is the same. It was unfair on James and Aiden to single them out."

John Delaney has claimed there could be 'tension in the air' as he again blamed the Scottish FA for the small allocation awarded to Ireland fans which has resulted in away fans buying tickets in home sections.

The FAI chief's comments were met with an angry response from supporters group You Boys In Green who referenced the 'impeccable' behavioural record of both nations.

However, Given, who is a back-up option for David Forde, believes there could be an Old Firm-type atmosphere.

"We can't tell fans what to do or not to do," he said. "We're going into the Scotland environment and the Scotland fans can do what they want.

"It doesn't matter if there's going to be tension or not, or hatred or whatever you want to call it. We know that it can't affect what's going to happen on the pitch and we've got to focus on that."

"It will still be a pretty spicy atmosphere for us but it's what happens on the pitch that matters, not what happens in the stands.

"Aiden and James are experienced players now and fantastic players and I'm sure they will show everyone in Glasgow how good they are. If James is fit, that is."

McCarthy's fitness does remain an issue. Encouragingly, his hamstring complaint did not require a scan but he sat out training at Malahide yesterday and Martin O'Neill says that he could leave it late to make a final decision on the Everton midfielder.

Glenn Whelan has made a rapid recovery to join in with the group, yet he is short of match fitness and the manager acknowledged that it would be too much of a risk to start with both players. Kevin Doyle, meanwhile, is out of the game with a groin problem.

Given missed last month's draw in Germany through a setback but senses a real belief flowing through the camp.

"I woke my kids up when John O'Shea scored. I roared the roof off the house," he laughed.

"There were memories of 2002 when Robbie scored that goal against Germany as well, such a late goal. But I felt we done well in Germany and confidence is really high. If we can back it up with a result on Friday, then we have a really big chance."

Irish Independent