LIAM SCALES is hoping to get the nod to face Gibraltar on Monday, despite seeing his Republic of Ireland debut wrecked by former Celtic team-mate Giorgos Giakoumakis.

The Hoops’ revitalised defender, a stand-out in the midst of an injury pile-up at the champions, suffered the anguish of a 2-0 loss in the Euro 24 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin last night.

Giakoumakis thumped in a header after rising to a left-wing cross to leave Scales and keeper Gavin Bazuna helpless in the 20th minute to trigger the downfall of the hosts who will miss out on next summer’s soccer showpiece in Germany.

It has been an uphill struggle for the Irish who have toiled in their group and have picked up just three points from their 3-0 win against Gibraltar in June.

RISE AND SHINE…Giorgos Giakoumakis leaps in front of Liam Scales (no.15) to bullet a header into the Republic of Ireland net in Greece’s 2-0 win in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. 

Boss Stephen Kenny brought in the impressive Scales for his international baptism and teamed him up with former on-loan Hoops centre-back Shane Duffy in the middle of the rearguard.

However, any hopes of a win were on the slide when Giakoumakis, who left Parkhead in February for MLS outfit Atalanta United, claimed the breakthrough strike.

It was all over when the Greeks doubled their advantage before the interval and Scales is hoping he did enough to win a second cap against Gibraltar.

Meanwhile, Celtic loanee Paulo Bernardo was a top performer for Portugal Under-21s in their 6-1 romp against Belarus.

The 21-year-old midfielder, on a season-long deal from Benfica, scored his team’s fourth goal and played 76 minutes before being replaced Mateus Fernandes.

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