Scotland play host to Republic of Ireland on Saturday evening looking to move a step closer to securing top spot in Group B1.
Meanwhile, the visitors make the trip to Hampden Park knowing that only a win will do if they want to retain any hope of earning promotion to the top tier of the UEFA Nations League.
On the back of seeing their World Cup dream end against Ukraine in the summer, Scotland had a score to settle when they renewed acquaintances with the same opponents on Wednesday evening.
However, few could have anticipated such a dominant performance from Steve Clarke’s side, who were deserved 3-0 victors as they put on a show at Hampden Park.
John McGinn was immense in the middle of the pitch, dictating play with his endless energy and the opening goal, before Lyndon Dykes ended a near year-long international drought with two headers from Ryan Fraser corners.
With the return fixture versus Ukraine to come next week, a two-point lead at the top of the group does not look secure, but success on Saturday night would move the Tartan Army to the brink of a first-ever promotion to League A, joining European football’s elite.
Scotland have not played host to Republic of Ireland since November 2014, a late Shaun Maloney goal proving to be the difference on that occasion as the home side won that Euro 2016 qualification fixture.
From Republic of Ireland’s perspective, their focus is on avoiding relegation to League C as they currently sit just one point above bottom-placed Armenia.
Trailing leaders Scotland by five points and Ukraine by three points, only an unlikely set of circumstances would see them win the group, but Stephen Kenny will still demand that his players give everything at the weekend.
On the back of 1-0 defeats to Armenia and Ukraine, Republic of Ireland have responded with four points from games against the top two, the bulk of that return coming from a commanding 3-0 success over their upcoming opponents in Dublin.
Alan Browne, Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi all got on the scoresheet on that occasion, but the Irish are not the same team on their travels, their most notable away successes since 2018 coming in Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
Scotland Nations League form:
Scotland form (all competitions):
Republic of Ireland Nations League form:
Republic of Ireland form (all competitions):
We say: Scotland 2-1 Republic of Ireland
Given Scotland’s efforts against Ukraine, there will inevitably be some tiredness in their legs, and that will only encourage Republic of Ireland. Nevertheless, it will still take a big performance from the Green Army to beat Scotland, something which we do not think that they are capable of at this time.