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O'Neill expects 'very British game' against Scotland

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill

Michael O'Neill has told his Northern Ireland players to expect "a very British game" when they head to Scotland on the back of an encouraging 1-1 friendly draw in Romania.

After calling this the start of a "rebirth" for his young side after a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, the national manager saw some encouraging signs in Bucharest on Friday.

Debutant Jamie Reid, at 29 the oldest player in a Northern Ireland starting team with an average age of 23.5, scored just seven minutes in to his international career while emerging talents Conor Bradley, Trai Hume, Shea Charles, Brodie Spencer and Isaac Price caught the eye.

O'Neill picked a pair of friendlies away to Euro 2024-bound sides in order to test his inexperienced side and is ready for another tough task at Hampden Park.

"Scotland will give us a different challenge," he said. "They have a team littered with Premier League players, so it will give our boys a chance to step up and show they can handle the game at that level.

"It's a real challenge for our players, but they'll gain confidence from the game and look forward to Tuesday."

Asked what he would hope to see at Hampden, O'Neill added: "More of the same. We'll watch the game back and there'll be certain aspects where we'll maybe want to be a little bit better with the ball.

"At times, our build-up was disjointed. Romania are a team that will put you under pressure. We knew they would do, we had to play not too many passes in our defensive third and play beyond it, which we did quite well."

O'Neill stressed that he felt his young players "needed a little bit of time and they still do need time".

"We've lost a lot of senior players in the last 12 months and we fast-tracked a lot of the younger players into the team, but they deserve to play," he added.