Tuesday 13 August 2013, 11:26
One of the pleasures of living in my part of Glasgow is it's only a short walk to the West of Scotland Cricket Club’s ground in Partick. If you stand at the top end and look through the fence, as I often do, you will see a view that has hardly changed since the Illustrated London News sent its artist to capture the scene there on St Andrew’s Day, 1872.
The occasion was the very first football international match: Scotland v England. A healthy crowd of 4,000 turned up to watch the sides draw 0-0 (see below for an artist's illustration of the day). All international football is descended from that fixture, so it is perfectly appropriate for the FA to celebrate its 150th anniversary by inviting Scotland to play at Wembley.
Wembley used to be a place of pilgrimage for Scotland fans, who greatly relished their trips to London every two years. A legendary victory there would inspire another generation of supporters to make the journey, like the 5-1 thrashing handed out in 1928 by the team that was instantly dubbed the Wembley Wizards.
Of course, there was 1967 when Scotland humbled Sir Alf Ramsey’s side on the same turf on which they had won the World Cup a year previously. Sure, the score was only 3-2 but the Scottish performance was personified by Jim Baxter, playing keepie-uppie with the ball as he sauntered down the left wing.
There are also one or two occasions they don’t talk about much in Scottish pubs. The 7-2 defeat in 1955, the 9-3 battering in 1961 or the 1975 episode, when Rangers’ Stewart Kennedy picked the ball from his net five times. “They shot the wrong Kennedy,” said the graffiti on Glasgow walls.
By the time I started going to Wembley the fixture’s days were numbered because of hooliganism. In 1977 the Scottish support had celebrated a 2-1 win by leaving with the pitch and goalposts. England casuals began to appear in Glasgow in the 1980s and the annual meeting of the sides was abandoned at the end of that decade.
Scotland did return to Wembley for Euro 96, only for Gary McAllister to miss a crucial penalty kick, which was followed by a glorious strike by Paul Gascoigne who, to rub a barrel of salt into gaping Scottish wounds, was Scotland’s player of the year due to his Rangers form. In 1999 Don Hutchinson netted the winner in a Euro 2000 playoff at Wembley, but sadly for the Scots, Paul Scholes had scored twice in the first leg at Hampden Park four days previously.
That was that – until this week’s episode. Mind you, whatever happens at Wembley between Roy’s boys and Gordon’s Grenadiers, it won’t change the answer to one favourite pub quiz question:
Q: Who was the last native Scot to score against England in a men’s senior competitive fixture? (answer below the picture of Don Hutchison's 1999 winner)
A: Ray Houghton, born in Glasgow in 1962, for the Republic of Ireland at Euro 88.
The Auld Enemy is at 9.30pm on Tuesday 13 August on BBC Radio 5 live. You can listen again for seven days by clicking here. 5 live has full commentary on England v Scotland from 8pm on Wednesday 14 August.
Join the discussion...
Sunday 4 August 2013, 16:23
Friday 16 August 2013, 09:45