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Scotland host Northern Ireland in warm-up for Euro 2016 qualifiers

Scotland will welcome Northern Ireland to Hampden Park for an international friendly encounter, in preparation for both side’s vital upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying clashes.

The Scots, 6/4 with Coral to win to nil, will soon host Gibraltar as they aim to take one step closer to sealing qualification for next year’s competition in France.

Gordon Strachan’s men have enjoyed a successful Group D campaign so far, having climbed to third place on goal difference, after toppling the Republic of Ireland in their previous fixture.

Meanwhile, Michael O’Neill’s Group F high-flyers, 4/1 to win, have showed great character in qualifying, securing several encouraging away victories over Hungary and Greece to currently sit in second position, just a point adrift of leaders Romania.

O’Neill’s visitors will contest Finland in their next qualifier, with a triumph set to catapult them into a promising position in their group. However, a trip to Glasgow is first up for Northern Ireland, in what is expected to be an exciting warm-up encounter.

Scots boss Strachan will be without Fulham forward Ross McCormack, after the 28-year-old suffered a knee injury playing against his former club Leeds United.

MK Dons defender Lee Hodson has been called into the visiting squad, following a knee injury to Dundee United’s Paul Paton. Midfielder Paton and Daniel Lafferty were initially called upon to replace injured pair Sammy Clingan and Shane Ferguson, but further knocks have occurred.

Former Rangers forward Lafferty fills the void left by Ferguson, and he will be sure to receive a hostile reception in Scotland, following his departure from the struggling Glasgow club on bad terms, after a four-year spell where he lifted three consecutive SPL titles.

The towering targetman is 2/1 to net anytime, while his in-form striker partner Niall McGinn is a 10/3 chance to strike anytime, following his successful goalscoring season with Scottish Premiership title-pushers Aberdeen.

Scotland will hope brilliant Blackburn Rovers frontman Jordan Rhodes can concert his club form on to the international stage, with the 25-year-old having netted 16 times so far this current campaign. He is available at 4/1 to score his country’s last goal of the game at Hampden Park.

The last time these two nations collided was in February 2011, when the Scots came out on top with a comfortable 3-0 triumph. Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur was on the scoresheet in that previous win, and he is a 7/1 chance to net again anytime in his latest international appearance.

Both countries will hope to use this friendly encounter as a means to regain momentum ahead of their respective qualifying fixtures, as Scotland look to reach their first European Championship since 1996, while Northern Ireland aim to end a 29-year absence from a major tournament.