Monday, 12 August 2013

The Oldest International Fixture

First played at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow on 30th November 1872, England v Scotland is the oldest international fixture in football.  On Wednesday 14th August 2013 the rivalry resumes after a gap of almost 14 years.  This will be Scotland’s first appearance at the ‘new’ Wembley, which seems a tragedy in itself given the closeness of their locality and the length of the history between the two nations.

This fixture used to be an annual encounter played as part of the British International Championship which was traditionally held at the end of May after the FA Cup Final and League season had finished.  During the 1980’s the fixture became a real magnet for battles between rival sets of fans and the authorities began to lose motivation.  The Home International Championships ended in 1984 and since then England and Scotland have met 8 times.

Since watching my first match in 1975, I have seen 18 clashes between ‘the auld enemy’.  Here is a rundown of the best or most memorable.

24th May 1975, British International Championship, Wembley, attendance: 98,241
ENGLAND   (3)   5   (G.Francis 4, 63; Beattie 6; Bell 41; Johnson 73)
Clemence (Liverpool); Whitworth (Leicester), Todd (Derby), Watson (Sunderland), Beattie (Ipswich); Ball (Arsenal), Bell (Man City), G. Francis (QPR); Channon (Southampton), Johnson (Ipswich), Keegan (Liverpool) [Thomas (QPR)]
SCOTLAND   (1)   1   (Rioch pen 42)
Kennedy (Rangers); Jardine (Rangers), Munro (Wolves), McQueen (Leeds), McGrain (Celtic); Rioch (Derby), Duncan (Hibs) [Hutchison (Coventry)], Conn (Tottenham); Parlane (Rangers), MacDougall (Norwich) [Macari (Man Utd)], Dalglish (Celtic)

A vintage England performance under Don Revie during a time when the words ‘vintage’ and ‘England’ were usually used to describe days gone by when they used to entertain.  England had been held by both the Irish and Welsh and as Scotland had also drawn against the Welsh but beaten the Irish, another draw would be enough for the Scots to win the competition.

This was the end of the first 12 months of Revie’s reign and the goals scored by Wales in the week were the first they’d conceded since the ex-Leeds manager had taken over.  Early in the game and Channon and Francis combined to take control of the ball in midfield where Francis then found some room about 25 yards out and he let fly a great shot to give England the lead.  Francis had probably his best game for his country and would go on to be instrumental in leading QPR almost to the title the following season. 

With Scotland still trying to find their feet, England came at them again with Ball and Francis combining well to find Keegan, whose cross to the far post found an unlikely target in Kevin Beattie and his floating header gave England a 2-goal lead.  The best part of this goal was that Scotland had a free-kick on the edge of the England area and once it was defended, Beattie started sprinting downfield from his own area.  He kept running and eventually became the ideal target for Keegan’s pinpoint cross.  It was Beattie’s only goal for his country and he was playing in only his 3rd game but it was memorable moment for a player Bobby Robson once described as ‘the best defender he’d ever managed’.

As half-time approached England’s intricate passing in midfield again created a goal as Francis played one-twos with Channon and Keegan and then found Bell who beat Kennedy from virtually the same spot Francis had done earlier in the half.  Scotland were then given a lifeline when Rioch converted a penalty awarded against Colin Todd for handball, but England lead going into the break.  On the hour mark England extended their lead through a comical moment when they had a free-kick on the left hand edge of the Scottish area.  The ball was played for Francis, but too wide for him and his shot was closed down.  But the ref wanted the kick retaken as he said the wall wasn’t back the full distance.  When he eventually got the wall to the position he wanted, England just repeated the move and this time Francis had more space to hit his shot past the hapless Kennedy.

The fifth goal was equally comical and seemed to sum up Kennedy, and Scotland’s, day.  England had a free-kick wide on the right which Ball floated into the area.  Keegan got up above Jardine to head the ball against the bar and as the ball came back down Watson managed to knock it against the post when it seemed harder to miss and then as the ball bounced out again, David Johnson was on hand to score.  Johnson had scored two goals on his debut against Wales 3 days previously and now had a third as England completed the rout.

4th June 1977, British International Championship, Wembley, attendance: 98,103
ENGLAND   (0)   1   (Channon pen 87)
Clemence (Liverpool); Neal (Liverpool), B.Greenhoff (Man Utd), Watson (Man City), Mills (Ipswich); Talbot (Ipswich), Kennedy (Liverpool), Hughes (Liverpool); Channon (Southampton), Pearson (Man Utd), T.Francis (Birmingham)
SCOTLAND   (1)   2   (McQueen 43, Dalglish 59)
Rough (Partick); McGrain (Celtic), Forsyth (Rangers), McQueen (Leeds), Donachie (Man City); Rioch (Everton), Hartford (Man City), Masson (QPR) [Gemmill (Derby)], Johnston (WBA); Jordan (Leeds) [Macari (Man Utd)], Dalglish (Celtic)

A fixture famous for the after-match celebrations than the actual game itself.  As with two years previously, Scotland had been held by the Welsh but beaten the Irish.  England had won in Belfast but beaten at home by Wales.  England needed to win, Scotland could afford a draw.  The majority of the supporters that day were Scottish and created a wonderful, if a little intimidating, atmosphere.

Just before half-time Scotland had a free-kick near England’s goal-line on their left.  Hartford floated it in and Gordon McQueen climbed highest in the area to head past Clemence for the opening goal.  On the hour Scotland Hartford was again involved as his lovely weighted pass found Willie Johnston clear on the left.  His cross was nodded back by Rioch at the back post and as Dalglish came in, his initial shot was half-blocked by Neal and as the ball ran loose, the Celtic striker (soon to move to Anfield), was first to react to bundle the ball over the line.  The Scots were rampant.

With only minutes to go, Trevor Francis played a one-two on the edge of the box and was then adjudged to be brought down by McQueen and England had a penalty.  Mick Channon calmly scored but England never deserved to get more than that from the game.  Cue the pitch invasion.  The pitch was due to be relayed so the Scots seemed keen to take as many souvenirs back with them as they could.  They even broke the crossbars as many Rod Stewart look-a-likes claimed the ground as their own.  There was a real feeling of dominance in Scottish football at the time, leading to brave boasts of winning the World Cup the following summer.  That didn’t materialise, although you wonder why they didn’t achieve more with players like Dalglish, Hartford, Souness and McQueen.  This was Scotland’s first win at Wembley since their famous 1967 win when they became the first side to beat the then World Champions.

26th May 1979, British International Championship, Wembley, attendance: 100,000
ENGLAND   (1)   3   (Barnes 44, Coppell 62, Keegan 69)
Clemence (Liverpool); Neal (Liverpool), Thompson (Liverpool), Watson (Man City), Mills (Ipswich); Coppell (Man Utd), Wilkins (Chelsea), Brooking (West Ham), Barnes (Man City); Latchford (Everton), Keegan (Hamburg)
SCOTLAND   (1)   1   (Wark 16)
Wood (Everton); Burley (Ipswich), McQueen (Man Utd), Hegarty (Dundee Utd), F.Gray (Leeds); Wark (Ipswich), Souness (Liverpool), Hartford (Man City), Graham (Leeds); Jordan (Man Utd), Dalglish (Liverpool)

England had yet to concede a goal in the competition after winning in Belfast and being held at home to the Welsh.  Scotland had been beaten by a John Toshack hat-trick at Cardiff yet bounced back to beat the Irish.  A win for England would see them lift the trophy and for the Scots to be victorious they needed to win by at least 5 goals.

After the banality of life under Don Revie, England were now enjoying a much freer period under the tutelage of Ron Greenwood.  Scotland too had a new boss.  After the embarrassment of Argentina ’78, Jock Stein had returned some realism to Scottish fortunes.  England had the ball in the net early on when George Wood failed to hang onto a Wilkins cross and Latchford put the ball over the line, to find the referee thought Wood had been fouled.  Then Jordan lead a counter-attack finding Arthur Graham on the right.  His ball across the goal was poorly defended and Dalglish, at the far post, knocked it back where Wark passed the ball into the net to give the Scots the lead, with his first international goal.

Just before the break, Keegan picked up the ball on the left midway in the Scottish half.  His pass forward found Peter Barnes on the edge of the area.  Barnes flicked the ball up, controlled it on his thigh and then shot, slightly mishit, past Wood for the equaliser.

The second half belonged to England.  Keegan combined with Latchford on the left, then a combination of Barnes and Mills swept the ball over to the right wing where Wilkins was unmarked.  His shot across the goal was fumbled by Wood and Steve Coppell was on hand to turn in the loose ball.  Then came the goal of the game, which identified the partnership of Keegan and Brooking.  England rarely lost when the two were playing together and some of their best performances in the late 70’s came through those two.  Coppell stole the ball on the right and found Keegan just inside his own half.  Keegan then ran into the space in front of him with Brooking just to his left.  The two played a beautiful one-two to take out the defence completely and Keegan slotted it past Wood to kill the game off.  England had won the trophy for the second successive year.

15th June 1996, European Championships, Wembley, attendance: 76,864
ENGLAND   (0)   2   (Shearer 53, Gascoigne 79)
Seaman (Arsenal), G.Neville (Man Utd), Southgate (A.Villa), Adams (Arsenal), Pearce (Notts Forest) [Redknapp (Liverpool)[Campbell (Tottenham)]]; Anderton (Tottenham), Ince (Inter) [Stone (Notts Forest)], Gascoigne (Rangers), McManaman (Liverpool); Sheringham (Tottenham), Shearer (Blackburn)
SCOTLAND   (0)   0
Goram (Rangers); McKimmie (Aberdeen), Calderwood (Tottenham), Hendry (Blackburn), Boyd (Celtic); McKinlay (Celtic) [Burley (Chelsea)], McAllister (Leeds), McCall (Rangers), Collins (Celtic); Durie (Rangers) [Jess (Coventry)], Spencer (Chelsea) [McCoist (Rangers)]

Euro ’96 in England and the group stage would see the Auld Enemy drawn against each other in a fixture with the rest of Europe looking on, mildly amused.  Both countries had drawn their opening matches and with the Dutch still to come, England knew they had to get a win here.  But Scotland were well organised and nullified most of England’s attacking options.  After a goalless first half, England manager Terry Venables, made an important tactical change.  He took off Pearce and brought on Redknapp.  This released Gascoigne to be more attacking and England reverted to a back three.  Almost immediately, Redknapp began to win the ball in midfield and he found Neville on the left whose cross was met perfectly by Shearer at the far post and England were in the lead.  All their hard work was nearly undone when Adams was adjudged to have brought down Durie in the area and Scotland had a penalty.  Up stepped Gary McAllister but his shot was saved by David Seaman and the let-off galvanised England further to create the goal of the tournament.  The ball had gone out for a corner after Seaman’s save and from there England gained a free-kick for a push in the area.  A long ball downfield from Seaman was controlled by Sheringham who played it to Anderton wide on the left.  The Tottenham man played a first time ball through to Gascoigne, who ran into space on the edge of the area.  As the ball landed over Gascoigne’s left shoulder, he flicked it up, anticipating Hendry’s challenge, then ran round the Scottish centre-back and as the ball droped he volleyed it past Goram into the net and victory was complete for England.

Before the tournament, England players had been criticised for some antics in a Far East bar with copious amounts of alcohol and a ‘dentist’s chair’.  After a collective vow of silence from the squad, Gascoigne seeks to make light of it by recreating the event with water bottles on the side of the pitch and his teammates feeding the liquid to him.  It was a delirious moment for the home side and fans and finally brought to tournament to life.

Due to the expansion of countries in Europe, the European Championship qualifying stages now included a play-off stage.  Remarkably, the first two countries drawn out of the hat were England and Scotland.  Set to play over two legs beginning with a game at Hampden Park

13th November 1999, European Championship Play-off 1st leg, Hampden Park, attendance: 50,132
SCOTLAND   (0)   0
Sullivan (Wimbledon); Dailly (Blackburn), Hendry (Rangers), Weir (Hearts), Ritchie (Hearts); Collins (Everton), Burley (Celtic), Hutchison (Everton), Ferguson (Rangers); Dodds (Dundee Utd), Gallacher (Newcastle) [Burchill (Celtic)]
ENGLAND   (2)   2   (Scholes 21, 42)
Seaman (Arsenal); Campbell (Arsenal), Adams (Arsenal), Keown (Arsenal), P.Neville (Man Utd); Beckham (Man Utd), Ince (Middlesbro), Redknapp (Liverpool), Scholes (Man Utd); Owen (Liverpool) [A.Cole (Man Utd)], Shearer (Newcastle)

England, were unbeaten under new manager Kevin Keegan, and firm favourites to reach the finals, but Scotland, still managed by Craig Brown, were a determined bunch.  The game was played in front of a typically vociferous and partisan crowd.  Midway through the half and Sol Campbell, playing at right-back, played a ball forward looking for Shearer and Scholes nipped in, controlled it on his chest and calmly slotted the ball past Sullivan for the opening goal.  Then as half-time loomed England had a free-kick wide on the right which Beckham took it and again it was Scholes who got up first to head England into a 2-0 lead.  England comfortably saw out the game to take a crucial lead to Wembley 4 days later.

17th November 1999, European Championship Play-off 2nd leg, Wembley, attendance: 75,848
ENGLAND   (0)   0
Seaman (Arsenal); Campbell (Arsenal), Southgate (A.Villa), Adams (Arsenal), P.Neville (Man Utd); Beckham (Man Utd), Ince (Middlesbro), Redknapp (Liverpool), Scholes (Man Utd) [Parlour (Arsenal)]; Owen (Liverpool) [Heskey (Liverpool)], Shearer (Newcastle)
SCOTLAND   (1)   1   (Hutchison 39)
Sullivan (Wimbledon); Dailly (Blackburn), Hendry (Rangers), Weir (Hearts), Davidson (Blackburn); Burley (Celtic), Hutchison (Everton), Collins (Everton), Ferguson (Rangers); Dodds (Dundee Utd), McCann (Rangers) [Burchill (Celtic)]

Both teams made changes for the second leg, although England only made the one with Southgate coming in for Keown.  McCann and Davidson came in for Gallacher and Ritchie.  England’s approach to this game seemed to be far too comfortable and complacent despite the fact they knew the Scots had to make all the running.  England seemed to prefer to protect the lead they had rather than make life easier for themselves by adding to it.  Four days previously Scotland had seemed disjointed and nervous but now they were all fighting for the cause.  Brown had decided to push Huthcison further forward to support the attack and he was rewarded as the first half reached a conclusion.  With 6 minutes to go to the break Dailly found McCann down the left and as he reached the bye-line he picked out a far post cross and Don Hutchison rose above the defence to head home for Scotland.  This changed the complexion of the tie completely as Scotland pressed for a 2nd goal to level things and England crawled further and further into their shell.  In the end England saw the game out to go through but Scotland had definitely hurt them.

Other than the games I have watched there have been some other memorable meetings between the two nations.

14th February 1973, Hampden Park, Centenary Match, attendance: 48,470
SCOTLAND   (0)   0
ENGLAND   (3)   5   (Lorimer og 11, Clarke 14, 72, Channon 15, Chivers 70)

10th May 1969, Wembley, British International Championship, attendance: 89,902
ENGLAND   (2)   4   (Peters 16, 64, Hurst pen 20, 64)
SCOTLAND   (1)   1   (Stein 44)

15th April 1967, Wembley, European Championship Qualifying, attendance: 99,063
ENGLAND   (0)   2   (J Charlton 84, Hurst 88)
SCOTLAND   (1)   3   (Law 27, Lennox 78, McCalliog 87)

2nd April 1966, Hampden Park, British International Championship, attendance: 123,052
SCOTLAND   (1)   3   (Law 42, Johnstone 58, 84)
ENGLAND   (2)   4   (Hurst 19, Hunt 33, 48, R.Charlton 74)

15th April 1961, Wembley, British International Championship, attendance: 97,350
ENGLAND   (3)   9   (B.Robson 9, Greaves 19, 29, 82, Douglas 56, Smith 73, 85, Haynes 80, 82)
SCOTLAND   (0)   3   (Mackay 48, Wilson 53, Quinn 75)

2nd April 1955, Wembley, British International Championship, attendance: 96,847
ENGLAND   (4)   7   (Wilshaw 1, 70, 73, 84, Lofthouse 7, 36, Revie 24)
SCOTLAND   (1)   2   (Reilly 15, Docherty 85)

10th April 1920, Hillsborough, British International Championship, attendance: 40,000
ENGLAND   (2)   5   (Cock 10, Quantrill 15, Kelly 67, 73, Morris 68)
SCOTLAND   (4)   4   (Miller 13, 40, Wilson 21, Donaldson 31)


Matches: 110
England win: 45
Scotland win: 41
Drawn: 24

In May 1982, England beat Scotland 1-0 at Hampden Park.  It was the 100th meeting between the two countries and levelled things up at 39 wins each.