Republic of Ireland 3, Scotland 0: Sluggish Scots humbled by slick Irish in Nations League nightmare

First-half strikes from Alan Browne and Troy Parrott, and Michael Obafemi’s first international goal gave the Republic of Ireland a deserved victory over a sluggish Scotland in Dublin on Saturday evening.
Alan Browne celebrates his opener with Shane Duffy and Troy Parrott in front of the disgruntled travelling supportersAlan Browne celebrates his opener with Shane Duffy and Troy Parrott in front of the disgruntled travelling supporters
Alan Browne celebrates his opener with Shane Duffy and Troy Parrott in front of the disgruntled travelling supporters

Steve Clarke’s side came into the game buoyed by a straightforward win against Armenia on Wednesday night following their World Cup play-off semi-final heartache against Ukraine, while the Irish had also been beaten by Oleksandr Petrakov’s side in the first round of Nations League fixtures.

But it was Stephen Kenny’s under-fire Irish who strolled to a big win in Dublin 4 as Scotland failed to really test Caoimhin Kelleher, with John McGinn’s tame early effort the only real chance of note for the visitors.

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There had been warnings for Scotland early on, Craig Gordon getting down well to beat away a cross, and a poor touch from Grant Hanley allowing Obafemi to tee up James McClean but the Wigan winger blazed wide.

McClean then turned provider for Obafemi but the Swansea striker was just beaten to the ball by Scott McKenna who knocked it behind for a corner.

But from a resulting set-piece of which Scotland would have been proud, the hosts took the lead. McClean’s corner to the backpost was headed down by Shane Duffy and Browne bundled the ball over the line.

McGinn curled narrowly wide after Duffy was slack with a pass out of defence but Ireland responded by scoring again.

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Obafemi wrong-footed Callum McGregor and chipped forward for Troy Parrott, who nipped in between Anthony Ralston and Jack Hendry and placed a first-time header past Gordon to double the advantage.

Clarke changed his personnel at the interval with Billy Gilmour entering the fray in place of Hendry but the Chelsea midfielder was dispossessed by Jayson Molumby in the middle of the park, the ball falling to Obafemi who hit a stunning effort from 30 yards over Gordon’s head to effectively end the game as a contest.

Substitute Scott Hogan nearly made it four, with Hanley hooking his effort off the line, which got the VAR treatment just in case.

Clarke made a triple change, taking off McGinn, Che Adams, and Ryan Christie for Stuart Armstrong, Jacob Brown, and Ross Stewart but to little effect.

Scotland travel to Yerevan to face Armenia on Wednesday night in their third Nations League game.