REPUBLIC of Ireland supporters have blamed their own football association for the ticket saga that led to the Scottish FA being branded “a joke”.
FAI chief executive John Delaney made that remark after only receiving a 3,209 allocation for the crunch Euro qualifier at Celtic Park next Friday. That forced the SFA to issue a statement confirming that their ticket arrangements complied with Uefa regulations.
Now Delaney has come under fire for the way those briefs were distributed, after loyal Irish fans were left without tickets. A statement released by supporters group The Boys In Green said: “The comments of the CEO have been disingenuous and seem little more than an attempt to shift the blame without acting with integrity and committing to real change. The actions of the FAI in attempting to deflect blame and apportion responsibility to the SFA demonstrate either a complete misunderstanding of the anger of the fans, or a wilful attempt to mislead and deceive fans by blaming the SFA without first getting their own house in order.
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“The Scots have successfully run a system for years that allocates tickets transparently based upon how many of the last ten away games fans have attended. It became clear that a number of season ticket holders with long away records had been overlooked for tickets for this game.
“The attempt to blame the SFA appears to many supporters as an attempt to mask the serious issues that the FAI have in relation to the allocation of the tickets that they did receive.”
On the field, former Celtic striker Daryl Murphy, who managed just a single home goal during his time in Glasgow, could be set for a shock start in Ireland’s attack against Scotland.
Murphy may have suffered an acute lack of goals at Celtic – netting just three times for the club – but he is in sparkling form at Ipswich and has already bagged ten goals for the season. The 31-year-old could link up with Robbie Keane at Parkhead with both former Celtic strikers eager to make their mark at their old ground. And Murphy reckons he is playing the best football of his career.
He said: “I’ve played well in the past but I’ve never been as prolific as I have over the last few games. You can see in my form that I’m well settled here and enjoying every minute. I’ve had a decent enough start, but I need to maintain it. There’s no point getting these early goals and then not doing it again.”
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill admits he is delighted with the form of Murphy – although he has yet to score for Ireland in 13 attempts.
He said: “He has done exceptionally well. I’ve been following him around. He feels he’s playing in his best position now, centre forward and he is looking dangerous. There was an improvement from him last year and he has more confidence than he has ever had.”
Murphy’s sole goal at Parkhead came in injury time of a 4-1 win over Dundee United in May, 2011.
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