All credit to Paul Howard for what you'll see splashed across newspaper headlines tomorrow morning.
Finally - a Bale Out that actually benefits Ireland.
— Paul Howard (@AkaPaulHoward) October 3, 2017
Gareth Bale will miss Wales' final qualifiers against us and The Pesky Georgians with a hamstring injury, which, on the face of it, hugely boosts our chances of finishing above them in the group table. Bale is perhaps the best Wales player in history and undoubtedly their best at the moment, in spite of the fact that Chris Gunter has just been voted the nation's Player of the Year.
It's a blow for Wales, but it is not unprecedented. Bale has suffered from injury throughout his time at Madrid: he missed almost two months at the end of last season with a calf injury, having been sidelined for three months with an ankle injury across Christmas, leaving him in a race against time to be fit for the qualifier game in Dublin.
All of this means that Wales have had to do without Bale before, so we've taken a look at the Wales record without Gareth Bale.
Wales record without Gareth Bale
How many games has he missed?
Prior to the Serbia qualifier for which Bale was suspended, Wales Online totted up the respective numbers. Here, we're going to use them and update to include the three qualifiers Wales have played since then. So, since Bale made his international debut in 2006, Wales have played a total of 101 times.
They've won 41 of them, giving them a win percentage of 40.6%. Of those 101 games, Bale has played in 68 of them. Of the 68 that Bale has played in, 48.5%. And of the 33 games Bale has missed, Wales have won just eight, meaning the win percentage drops down to a measly 24.2%.
Ergo, with thanks to the fine folks at Wales Online, it's pretty clear than in the last eleven years, Wales are more than twice as likely to win with Bale than they are without him.
But what about under Chris Coleman?
These figures include the haggard Welsh days of the mid to late 2000s, meaning the figures included a time when Bale was a mere substitute replacing the likes of Robert Earnshaw, David Vaughan, and Carl Fletcher (not that one). So far more relevant is the Welsh record under current manager Chris Coleman, who took charge in January 2012 following the death of Gary Speed.
Of Coleman's 46 games in charge, Bale has played in 35 of them. Across these games, Wales' win percentage is 48.6%. (17 wins from 35 games, including notable wins against Belgium at the Euros and against the same opponents and Israel in qualifying). Of the 11 games Bale has missed Wales have won just one of them, and that was by a single goal at home to Macedonia. This means the win percentage drops to just 9%.
How will they set up without him?
Throughout the Euros, Wales enjoyed success with a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Bale and Aaron Ramsey in support of a lone frontman, be it Sam Vokes or Hal-Robson
Cruyff Kanu. Even without Bale in Serbia, Coleman played the same way, replacing Bale with Dave Edwards.
Coleman moved away from this system to some success in the recent win against Austria, introducing Ben Woodburn and switching to a 4-2-3-1 system to great success: Woodburn scored the winner.
Bale played on that occasion, however.
It's to be expected that Wales will play with one man up front, and after that, either two players (Ramsey and another) playing behind the striker, or else Ramsey behind the striker with a couple of lads wide of him ahead of a holding duo featuring two of Joe Allen, Joe Ledley and Andy King.
Either way, the Wales record without Gareth Bale is clear.
Bale's absence massively weakens Wales as they go in search of six points in Tiblisi and in Cardiff.