Celtic defender Liam Scales has been called up by the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time with Alan Browne and Callum Robinson also drafted in for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.
Scales, who joined Celtic from Shamrock Rovers last week, was included by Ireland boss Stephen Kenny after defensive duo Dara O’Shea and Nathan Collins were ruled out due to injury.
West Brom forward Robinson missed Ireland’s last-gasp loss to Portugal after testing positive for Covid-19, with Preston midfielder Browne identified as a close contact of another positive case.
Both players have been cleared to link up with the squad as Ireland seek their first win in the World Cup qualifiers after three straight defeats.
Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny says he’s mystified as to why there has been a spike in Covid-19 cases within his squad
Kenny urged his team to maintain the standards they set in Portugal and break their duck at the Aviva Stadium.
He said: “We’re at home, we want to really play with intensity, it’s very important for us. We want to go and put in a strong performance and get the victory that we desire.’
“Azerbaijan had very close games themselves with Serbia and Portugal, and we’ve seen Qarabag get to the group stages (in the Europa Conference League) and comprehensively beat Aberdeen during the week, so we’ll have to earn the right to win, there’s no doubt about that.
Ireland suffered heartbreak in Faro as a late Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Portugal snatch a 2-1 win