International

Fires still burn for England and Scotland

2017-06-09 07:39
Harry Kane.(Getty Images)

London - Harry Kane believes the years have done nothing to dull the rivalry between England and Scotland ahead of Saturday's World Cup qualifier between the old foes in Glasgow.

Beginning with their first encounter in November 1872, the neighbours faced off almost every year until 1984, when the British Home Championship was abolished.

Their meetings since have been scarce and with Scotland having not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, a gulf has emerged between the teams.

But England striker Kane insists: "I still think it means something.

"It's like maybe playing for your club in derbies, it's the same sort of feelings. We definitely know how much it means to everyone and it means a lot to us as well.

"We were all England fans growing up and we all know what it meant. Just because we play for the team, it doesn't mean that's changed.

"It's important that we go out there with that mindset. We know it's going to be a very passionate game and we hope we are going to send our fans home happy."

Saturday's clash at the historic Hampden Park arrives with the two teams in familiar situations.

England are four points clear atop UEFA qualifying Group F and closing in on a place in Russia, while Scotland, six points back in fourth place, face a scrap just to secure a play-off berth.

It is 18 years since the Scots last overcame the auld enemy, Don Hutchison's goal securing a 1-0 win at Wembley, and Charlie Mulgrew is desperate to bring that wait to an end.

"It would mean everything to me," said the Scotland and Blackburn Rovers centre-back.

"It's something I grew up thinking about, playing these types of games, and I'm sure everyone in the squad has as well.

"I remember Don Hutchison scored at Wembley. I remember Euro 96 as well when Gazza (Paul Gascoigne) scored that goal and did the celebration."

Celtic contingent

He added: "They are a top side. Every one of their players is world-class, so it's going to be difficult for us, but we are up for it and we will be ready for it when the game comes."

Four points above second-place Slovakia, England have won four and drawn one of their five games to date and are the last team in European qualifying still to concede a goal.

Scotland were comfortably beaten 3-0 when the teams met at Wembley in November, but Gordon Strachan's men pulled off a precious 1-0 win over third-place Slovenia on their last outing.

Tottenham Hotspur hit-man Kane is in line to make his first England start under manager Gareth Southgate after missing six games due to injury.

Fellow striker Jamie Vardy withdrew from the squad on Wednesday due to a "minor" injury, while one-time captain Wayne Rooney was again overlooked.

Danny Rose's ongoing absence due to a knee problem means Southampton's Ryan Bertrand is likely to keep his place at left-back.

Scotland full-back Kiernan Tierney will wear a gum shield after injuring his mouth during Celtic's Scottish Cup final win over Aberdeen.

Tierney is one six players from all-conquering Scottish champions Celtic in Scotland's squad and Strachan hopes their presence has a positive impact.

"It would be stupid of me not to use that enthusiasm and that run of games they're on and the pride they've got in themselves," said Strachan of Celtic's triple trophy-winners.

Recent terror attacks in London and Manchester mean there will be enhanced security measures in place, with armed officers outside the stadium and bag searches in operation.

England's supporters will be under particular scrutiny after two fans received lifetime bans for making Nazi gestures during March's friendly defeat against Germany in Dortmund.

England's last game in Scotland, a 3-1 friendly win at Celtic Park in November 2014, was marred by chants about Irish paramilitary organisation the IRA being aimed at Celtic's pro-Irish fans.

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