Scotland v Northern Ireland – Hampden Park at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1

Scotland host Northern Ireland at Hampden Park tomorrow night in what should be a tough test for Gordon Strachan. Scotland are just 4 places above Northern Ireland in the Fifa World Rankings and this match should provide a good warm up before Sunday’s European Championship qualifiers. Scotland are at home to Gibraltar and Northern Ireland face Finland at Windsor park on Sunday with both sides having started well in their first 4 qualification matches.

Scotland have 7 points from their first 4 group matches and sit in 3rd behind Poland and Germany. They started their campaign with a loss away to the World Cup winners but their second half performance would have given them confidence they can finish in the top 2 and qualify automatically. That defeat was followed up by a shaky 1-0 win at home to Georgia before earning a good point in Poland. Last time out in their group they took all 3 points at Hampden Park against the Republic of Ireland in what would have been a huge boost to Strachan’s men.

Northern Ireland would have surprised many with the way they have started their qualifying campaign sitting in second place taking 9 points from a possible 12. Their away win in Hungary kicked things off nicely before back to back 2-0 wins over the Faroe Islands at home, and away to previous European Champions, Greece. They did suffer a 2-0 loss in Romania in their last group match but will be looking to bounce back against Finland at Windsor Park on Sunday in what will be an important match for Michael O’Neill.

There is no doubt that both sides won’t be at full throttle for this friendly, with qualification matches just 4 days away neither side will be taking any unnecessary risks. Both managers will want all of their players who feature tomorrow night, fit for Sunday.

Scotland are odds on favourties, as short as 1.73 which is far too short, especially for a International friendly with a competitive match just around the corner. The Asian Handicap line is 0.75 which means to pick up a full win on Scotland they would have to win by 2 goals, and at even money, there is no value in this at all.

Northern Ireland’s form has been really good and are more than capable of getting a result tomorrow night. With a draw on our side and a little bit of insurance if they do lose by the odd goal, backing Michael O’Neill’s men +0.75 at 1.93 is going to be my recommendation.

I don’t expect this to be the most enjoyable of matches, but International friendlies rarely are. Both defences will want to keep it tight and Under 2.5 goals is the obvious choice but there is no value in taking the 1.65 top price on offer. Instead we will stick with Northern Ireland on the Asian Handicap.

Asian Handicap Recommendation: Northern Ireland +0.75 @ 1.93

Prices correct at time of writing.

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