Irish opportunity knocks as Liam Scales faces Champions League 'acid test' with Celtic
A first Republic of Ireland cap will be on the horizon for Liam Scales if the Celtic defender can hit the ground running in the Champions League, according to ex-Drogheda and Dundee United centre-back Graham Gartland.
The versatile former Shamrock Rovers player has enjoyed a run of starts as the left centre-back in a four for the Scottish champions at the start of this season amid injuries in that department for Brendan Rodgers' side.
That included a strong showing in the Old Firm derby win over Rangers just before the international break.
The Glasgow side will now turn their attentions to the Champions League group stage opener at Dutch champions Feyenoord in Rotterdam, a fixture that will be live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player on Tuesday and Scales is set to be the only Irish player in line to feature in this season's competition proper.
The 25-year-old's opportunity to shine for Celtic has come at a time when the left side of Ireland's back five could offer an opening with centurion James McClean hinting on Friday's Late Late Show that he may consider his international future after the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, while Enda Stevens, Ryan Manning and Callum O'Dowda are also in the mix for that wing-back berth.
He would also be a depth option among the candidates for left-sided centre-back within the current formation utilised by Stephen Kenny.
Wicklow native Scales has been called up previously by the Ireland manager but has yet to win a senior cap, although that could change depending on how the next few weeks go.
"He played wing-back a lot for Shamrock Rovers before he went away (in 2021) and scored a lot of great goals actually," Gartland said on this week's RTÉ Soccer Podcast.
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