David Marshall: Ireland game bigger than England

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DAVID Marshall knows there is no such thing as a “friendly” against England but that still cannot eclipse their Republic of Ireland clash.

Scotland face Roy Hodgson’s side in Glasgow next week in what the goalkeeper branded a “so-called” friendly.

Yet even that will be an after-thought to a far more important “derby”, the Euro 2016 qualifier against Ireland tomorrow. Marshall said: “When the home nations play it whets everybody’s appetite and they are exciting games but, for once, England is not the biggest game for us.

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“Ireland is the one we are more focused on as it does mean more in the qualifying group. There are important points up for grabs so it has to be the priority. It’s a massive game given the way the group has started. Then of course after that we have got the so-called friendly against England to look forward to.

“They will both be huge games and everyone in the squad wants to be part of them because Scotland will be buzzing. I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere for both games.”

The relegation of Marshall’s club, Cardiff City, from the Premier League last season fuelled fears he would slip out of Scotland manager Gordon Strachan’s plans. However Strachan has kept faith in the player he handed a senior debut at Celtic.

After a stop-start international career, Marshall, 29, has started eight of Scotland’s last ten internationals including all three Euro qualifiers this term.

“I was a little worried that my Scottish chances would be hit by dropping down to Championship, but it’s not something I can answer,” he said. “All you can do when you get your chance at international level is and play as well as you can. Gordon has put me in for the first three qualifiers which has been great.”

Marshall added: “Gordon has a persona in the media as a character but has got us really organised. We have had some tough away games and the next few games will show how far we have come in terms of trying to pick up at home.”

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