Scotland's Charlie Mulgrew ready for key Euro 2016 qualifier

Scotland's Charlie Mulgrew celebrates after the 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland last year
Scotland's Charlie Mulgrew celebrates after the 1-0 win over Republic of Ireland last year
Euro 2016 qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Scotland
Date: Saturday, 13 June Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Kick-off: 17:00 BST Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Charlie Mulgrew insists he is in shape to start Scotland's Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland following a long spell out through injury.

The 29-year-old managed two appearances as a second-half substitute for Celtic in May after damaging a hamstring tendon in early December.

He then came through 90 minutes of last week's friendly with Qatar, winning praise from manager Gordon Strachan.

"I'm ready to play if called upon," said Mulgrew. "I'm glad to be back."

Against Qatar, Mulgrew played in central defence, while he has also been used at left-back and in midfield at international level.

"I'm just concentrating on doing my best wherever I'm asked to play," he added.

Charlie Mulgrew got through a full 90 minutes in Scotland's friendly with Qatar last week
Charlie Mulgrew got through a full 90 minutes in Scotland's friendly with Qatar last week

"There's real competition for places in the squad, so to be playing anywhere would be an honour.

"People have said before that maybe it's best to settle on one position but I enjoy moving about and I'm happy to do a job wherever I'm asked to play.

"It's a positive. It gives me more chance of getting on the pitch."

Mulgrew played a starring role when Scotland beat Republic of Ireland 1-0 in Glasgow last November, with Strachan saying he was "the best man on the pitch".

"You always know when you've played well and that night I was very happy with my performance," he recalled.

"The most important thing was winning the game and I was glad I could help us do that.

"The last game was very physical and we expect the same. They have a lot of physical players but we've got players that can do that as well.

"It will be a typical British game, I would imagine."

Euro 2016 - how are the 24 places decided?
There are nine groups and the top two from each will book a spot, along with hosts France.The third-placed side with the most points (discarding those earned against the team finishing sixth in groups as one group has five teams) will also make it.The eight other teams finishing third play off over two legs to decide the final four teams.

Mulgrew partnered Scotland captain Scott Brown in central midfield for November's victory at Celtic Park and is full of admiration for his club-mate.

"I think anyone playing alongside Scott enjoys it," said Mulgrew. "He does all the ugly side of the game so well, which sometimes he doesn't get credit for.

"He's a top-class player at international and Champions League level."

Scotland go to Dublin two points better off than the hosts and one point behind Group D leaders Poland, with the top three places offering a route to a first major championship since 1998.

"We're only halfway there," said Mulgrew. "We're not getting carried away thinking it's a must-win game or anything like that.

"We're just looking to pick up the three points if we can and then it's another step in the right direction.

"We've not done anything yet and there are a lot of big games to come."

Group D as it stands