Cyprus Mail

Buoyant Scotland and England to renew rivalry

The clash will be the 112th meeting between the two countries after they first clashed in Glasgow in 1872

By Mike Collett

SCOTLAND and England could both field young, relatively inexperienced teams when they meet in the world’s oldest international fixture at Celtic Park on Tuesday (10pm).

Both countries are approaching the friendly on something of a high after Scotland beat Ireland 1-0 in Glasgow in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday and England beat Slovenia 3-1 in their qualifier at Wembley on Saturday.

Tuesday’s game will be the 112th meeting between the two after they first clashed in Glasgow in 1872. The fixture remained an annual, impassioned highlight of the season until 1989 when it was discontinued.

Since then the two have met only four times, with England winning three of those games, the last victory coming in a friendly at Wembley last year when England came from behind to win 3-2.

Rangers striker Kenny Miller, who scored the last of his 18 international goals for Scotland at Wembley, told Sky Sports on Sunday that the match against the ‘Auld Enemy’ still had a special resonance.
“It was a fantastic occasion last year and this gives us the chance to put it right,” said the striker, who retired from international football with 69 caps after that game.
“It is a friendly obviously, but in terms of the Scotland-England thing, there is a lot more at stake than just a friendly tie.”

England coach Roy Hodgson, seeking a sixth straight victory following their poor World Cup, hinted he could make changes to the side that started against Slovenia.

“Obviously there are players I would like to see, so there is a potential to change things and it’s not going to be a question of sending the bulk of these players home… We want to go up there with a big team.”

Hodgson could hand West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino his first cap, just three days after Nathaniel Clyne of Southampton made his international debut.
Ross Barkley, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw could also feature while either Ben Foster or former Celtic keeper Fraser Forster will play in goal, as Joe Hart has been released from the squad.

Scotland coach Gordon Strachan has also hinted at changes, with Rangers’ creative midfielder Lewis Macleod, 20, likely to make his debut for the Scots, who are seeking a home win over England for the first time since 1985.

The first match between the two in 1872 ended 0-0. It did not set much of a precedent.
The next goalless draw came 98 years later and there has only been one since then, in 1987, with the game traditionally producing drama with goals aplenty. Never more so than on April 15, 1961 at Wembley when England won 9-3, inflicting Scotland’s biggest ever defeat.

England’s Jimmy Greaves scored a hat-trick while future England manager Bobby Robson opened the scoring.
“There was little in the way of TV footage in the early 60s, so maybe we all remember ourselves as better players than we really were,” said England full-back Jimmy Armfield, recalling the match vividly years later.
“But if memory serves correct, we were pretty tasty in that match,” he explained before the teams met in a European Championship qualifier in 1999.

“Every time we played Scotland the tension was unbelievable. I first remember playing against them at Hampden Park in 1960 and the crowds there then were about 120,000.
“When we drove to Hampden, the streets were lined with people and it wasn’t to wish us Happy Christmas. In fact they all seemed to want to show us their wedding-ring fingers!”

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