JAMES McClean will realise a boyhood dream when he runs out onto the Celtic Park pitch to represent Ireland in tonight’s high profile European Championship Group D qualifying game.
And the 25-years-old, who is currently enjoying good form both at club and international level, is keeping his fingers firmly crossed that he will again don the No. 11 jersey.
Leading the group in the company of Poland with seven points - Martin O’Neill’s side have made a superb start to the campaign with an away victory in Georgia followed by a home win over Gibraltatr and, of course, the recent 1-1 result in Germany.
And having figured in all three games, the Creggan Heights winger is keen to keep that momentum with what would prove a significant victory over the Scots tonight in Glasgow.
“To start the game would be a dream come true for me,” said James last night.
“I’m a big Celtic fan and every weekend I seek out their results. I’ve been to Celtic Park on a number of occasions in the past, but to actually run out onto the pitch would be a dream come true for me.
“It’s a big international derby in the European Championships and it’s right up there, a massive fixture for us given our good start and I certainly wish to play my part,” added the former Derry City winger.
With confidence on a high, particularly after that never to be forgotten dramatic equaliser in Gelsenkirchen last month, the Derry man realises the importance of extending the impressive opening run.
“It’s another big match for us and with Scotland playing at home, it’s also a vital fixture for them as well.
“Both sides have started the group games well, so I would expect a tough match, but it’s certainly one we feel we can win,” he insisted.
“And it would be great to get another win under our belts because the next European fixture does not take place until March next year when Poland arrive at the Aviva Stadium.”
Anticipating an electric atmosphere in “Paradise,” boosted by the thousands of Irish fans who are expected to make the short trip across the Channel, the importance of consolidating their Group D leadership was not lost on McClean.
MUST TRY TO WIN IT!
“We’ve got to go out and try and win the game and it would be a big, big three points for us if we were to defeat Scotland in Celtic Park. It really would be massive with the Poland game up next March,” noted James.
Refusing to take anything for granted McClean and, indeed, fellow Derry midfielder, Darron Gibson, will be hopeful of making the starting line-up.
“Hopefully we will get the nod as I feel we’ve been playing well. It will be a fantastic occasion so every member of the squad will have high hopes of starting against Scoltand.”