GORDON Strachan has no ­problem with Scotland fans booing Aiden McGeady and James McCarthy in the game against the Republic of Ireland next week so long as it is done for purely football reasons.

McGeady and McCarthy were regularly abused verbally by rival fans when playing for Celtic and Hamilton Academical respectively, after both chose to commit their international careers to Ireland rather than the country of their births, Scotland. Some attributed the booing to anti-Irish discrimination but others insisted it happened only because fans were upset that two excellent players had chosen another country ahead of Scotland.

McGeady left Celtic in 2010 and is now at Everton, and McCarthy left Hamilton in 2009 and is also at Goodison Park, but the pair of them are two of the highest-profile names in the Republic team likely to start against Scotland in the Euro 2016 qualifier at Parkhead next Friday night.

Strachan said he had no issue with the home fans booing the pair of them so long as it was done harmlessly, and in recognition of the threat both players posed to Scotland's prospect of winning the game.

Asked if he would appeal to supporters to lay off them, he said: "No. They can do what they want! Are you going to ask them to pay 60 quid and then they cannae say something? As long as you don't have that nastiness about it then that is fine. But we have all been booed. I used to come here [Parkhead] regularly and get booed; it didn't bother me. And that was when I was the manager . . .

"It is part of football. It's pantomime humour. As long as it is pantomime humour then we don't mind that. If it goes beyond that then that's not fine. Do you know why they'll get booed? It is because they are good players. If they were useless the fans would not boo at them.

"As long as you keep it to the boos and leave it like that, so it is pantomime booing, that is what I like. That is good fun. They are getting booed because they are terrific, terrific players. Is Aiden the type to cower away? Absolutely not. It will not bother him.

"It will not bother him. And it will not bother James McCarthy because he is a top, top player."

McCarthy was born and raised in Scotland but his grandfather was Irish and he committed himself to them when they made an approach to him before the Scottish Football Association did. Irish grandparents also enabled McGeady to play for the Republic and he was selected for their under-15s schoolboys team. Strachan said the two players' decisions were entirely down to them.

"You play for whatever country you feel you are [from]. If you feel Irish then you play for Ireland and if you feel Scottish then you play for Scotland. That's the main thing. Whatever you feel you are, wherever you feel you come from, you do that. I don't have a problem with that."

Strachan yesterday named a 27-man squad for the Republic of Ireland game and the friendly against England four days later, which is also at Celtic Park. Stoke City's Phil Bardsley, who won the last of his 13 caps in May, 2012, was called in as a replacement right-back in the absence of the injured Alan Hutton.

The 20-year-old Rangers midfielder, Lewis Macleod, was also given his first call-up as Strachan continued his policy of granting experience of the international scene to emerging young players such as Callum McGregor and Ryan Gauld.