It’s a footballing rivalry almost as old as football itself. Since 1872 Scotland have played their Auld Enemy in 110 games; England winning 45 and Scotland winning 41.
Obviously, with that many games, and such intensity around them, there have been some special moments. England thrashed 5-1 by the Scots in 1928, and then regaining respect when they mauled Scotland 9-3 in 1961 featuring a Jimmy Greaves hattrick, England narrowly qualifying for Euro 2000 with a Paul Scholes brace at Hampden Park – the list goes on…
…and it goes on right here:
Ray Clemence Has A Nightmare and The Scots Invade
The fixture tonight will be the first time the two teams have met this century, but it wasn’t always this way. In 1977 the teams met at Wembley for the twelfth time in ten years, and the rivalry was at its peak.
England had recorded a few big wins in the those games, but Scotland had won the last encounter – and nothing would be sweeter than beating the English in their own gaff; a feat they had only accomplished twice in 25 years.
They Scots came down in their kilts and Tam o’ Shanters in a metaphorical invasion of Wembley stadium and their team got off to a great start just before half time when Gordon McQueen gave them the lead with his stereotypical name. This being for the title in the Home Championship, the game remained close – until Clemence forgot about the gap between his legs.
It’s disgusting. And although England pulled a late one back, the damage was done and Scotland won the championship.
So surprised by their victory and with the spirit of battle running through their blue and white veins, the Scots decided to lose the ‘metaphorical’ bit about their invasion, and attack the pitch as the pain continued for Clemence’s goal…
Jim Baxter Mocks The World Champions
England are now an old man; struggling to keep up with modern football and full of pessimism. But there was a time when we were a powerful young man who fans actually looked forward to seeing.
That time was the mid-late 60s, and in 1967 England were the World Cup holders and hadn’t been beaten since they claimed that accolade. In fact, all in all they were 19 games undefeated. Scotland did not want to see it become 20.
Things didn’t begin well for England at Wembley. They conceded to Denis Law after 27 minutes, and World Cup winning centre-back Jack Charlton got injured early on. England manager Alf Ramsey decided not to take Charlton off though – but to questionably put him up front instead.
Disaster struck on 78 minutes when Bobby Lennox scored again for the Tartan Army, but then unbelievably Charlton got one back for the home team.
England’s hope only lasted three minutes though as Jim McCalliog scored Scotland’s third. England returned fire in these crazy final minutes courtesy of Geoff Hurst but they couldn’t recover and lost 2-3. Scotland’s reaction was not understated.
The rivalry combined with England’s football dominance at the time led Scotland to proclaim they were unofficial world champions because clearly Scottish football is so close to boxing that they mixed up the ranking format for both.
The enduring image of the game is England being about as owned as you can get, as ‘Slim’ Jim Baxter does keepie-uppies along the field before nonchalantly flicking the ball forwards for a goal.
Euro 96 was probably the last time the nation were truly proud of England, the team was well-rounded and skillful, and they generally performed like it too. We had the team, the nation’s backing, and the home support – but our oldest rivals had turned up to crash the party – and they were in our group.
England and Scotland were due to meet in the second round of games, and after draws for both in the first set, the seriousness of the tie was at an all-time high. England could not lose to Scotland in their home tournament.
Scotland began strongly but were unable to convert in the first half. England came out well in the second with Alan Shearer opening the scoring on 53 minutes and beginning to have more of the play.
However, on the 76th minute the Scots got a debatable penalty from a referee that clearly didn’t value his safety.
Gary McAllister stepped up to take it against David Seaman. England’s players were nervous, Uri Geller tried to wobble the ball with psychic powers, the fans prayed for the best.
What they got was the absolutely unthinkable:
The save was enough to send the fans into raptures but what happened next was insanity.
As soon as Gazza’s left arm comes up as he begins the best fake shot in history, nobody in the ground or watching around the world knows what he is going to do.
The goal is what happens when football merges with art. It’s a moment so beautiful for an England fan that even blind people saw it. Colin Hendry is still receiving counselling from the shock he received, and, when they dug up the turf during the restructuring of Wembley they found gold ore deposits running along the exact path the ball took.
Let’s hope for more of the same tonight! Except all the bits where Scotland did well…