The oldest rivalry in international football will be renewed on November 18th when Scotland entertain England at Celtic Park.
The two ‘Auld Enemies first met in Partick in November 1872 when the match finished goalless in front of 4,000 fans. What was once an annual fixture has only been played once since the European Championship play-offs in 2000.
However past conflicts provoke debate and stir memories and here STEVE CURRY recalls two of the most memorable, one for fans north of the border, the other recalling a famous victory for England.
ENGLAND 2 SCOTLAND 3
April 15th, 1967 Wembley, European Championship qualifier
There was bitter-sweet poignancy for Scottish fans from this victory. They claimed it made them unofficial world champions but it was England who progressed to the European Championship finals in Italyin 1968.
North of the border they had squirmed eight months earlier when Bobby Moore had lifted the World Cup on this hallowed turf but here was their chance to exact some kind of retribution.
The Tartan Army moving south numbered 30,000 and they were to produce a cacophony rarely matched in the long history of the old Wembley.
It was manager Bobby Brown’s first game in charge but at his disposal was some of Britain’s finest talent. John Greig was leading out mystical players…Jim Baxter, Denis Law and Bill Bremner among them.
Anecdote has it that during Brown’s pre-match team talk, Slim Jim Baxter sat in a corner reading the Racing Post. When Brown said: “Anything to add, Jim” he replied “See this England side, they can play nane” At which he stretched his left leg, then his right and said “OK that’s me warmed up”
If that was not exactly true there was some wonderment from my seat at the way the Scots moved the ball like inspired brushstrokes from an artist and it was therefore no shock when Law scored in the 28th minute.
England had been on an unbeaten run of 19 games and this was not in the script by it was the denouement of the game that was to make it the stuff of folklore.
So swaggering was Baxter, so confident of his own ability and that of his team, he began to play keepy-uppy out near the corner flag with Nobby Stiles not more and a yard away.
When Bobby Lennox added a second goal in the 78th minute it triggered a remarkable finale. First Jack Charlton, who had been injured earlier in the game, pulled a goal back in his switched role of centre-forward.
But within two minutes Jim McCalliog had restored Scotland’s lead and Geoff Hurst’s header 60 seconds later came too late for an embarrassed England.
The hordes came spilling onto the pitch carving out lumps of the Wembley turf and wrapping it in newspaper to take home as souvenirs of the day Scotland became UFWC – Unofficial Football World Champions.
ENGLAND 9 SCOTLAND 3
April 15th, 1961 Wembley, Home International Championship
England were on a roll at the start of the 1960-61 season. They had been told by Walter Winterbottom at the start of the season that the players selected for the first game of the season that that squad would be the basis for the World Cup assault the following year in Chile.
It triggered an avalanche of goals, five against Northern Ireland, nine against Luxembourg, four against Spain and five against Wales going into the the biennial game against Scotland at Wembley.
As Jimmy Armfield, the ever-reliable right-back reflects: “The England v Scotland were ultra competitive. Half our team at Blackpool were Scots and our five-a-sides became so physical the manager had to stop them.”
There was nothing to suggest this latest Wembley meeting would be any different with a Scottish side that boasted Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner, neither a shrinking violet, not to mention Billy McNeill and Davie Wilson.
But then England were bursting with confidence, Jimmy Greaves on fire and Bobby Smith using his weight to some effect. And in mid-field the pairing of Bobby Robson and Johnny Haynes, the skipper, was just as formidable.
Armfield says: “There was little in the way of TV footage in the early Sixties so maybe we remember ourselves as better players than we really were. But if memory serves we were pretty tasty in that match.”
That was the way it seemed in the opening 30 minutes of the game with England careering into a three-goal lead, Robson opening the scoring and Greaves grabbing two in ten minutes
Haynes of the silken pass and first £100 per week pay packet, controlled the game from mid-field with his broad vision and Blackburn’s jinking little winger Bryan Douglas was dribbling his day down the right .
When barrel-chested Mackay pulled a goal back just after half-time and Wilson added a second five minutes later it seemed as if the Scots might have worked their way back into the game.
Step in first Douglas and then Smith to restore England’s nerve and though Patrick Quinn made it 5-3 Haynes took over with two in three minutes. And when Greaves and Smith scored their second goals in the last eight minutes the roiut was complete.
Poor Celtic keeper Frank Haffey was totally shell-shocked, never really recovering from what had been, for him, a nightmare afternoon. The torment lingered on as up in Scotland the gag “What’s the time? Nearly ten past Haffey”
Eventually Haffey decided to get away from it all and emigrated to Australia and eventually went into the entertainment business as a cabaret singer, a far cry from life in post-war Glasgow and well away from his worst nightmare.
by Steve Curry