England v Scotland: Mark McGhee queries Auld Enemy intensity

 

England v Scotland

  • Venue: Wembley Stadium
  • Date: Wednesday, 14 August
  • Kick-off: 20:00

Coverage: Live text commentary online, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Scotland

Mark McGhee believes the Scotland-England fixture may lack the intensity of his era.

The Scotland assistant boss, who counts scoring against the Auld Enemy in 1984 as a career highlight, says modern players think differently.

"There is a danger that something like this isn't as important," he said ahead of Wednesday's friendly at Wembley.

"I think that's something we look forward to. But I think times have changed a little bit."

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan would like to see the fixture played regularly, but McGhee, who scored against England in a 1-1 draw at Hampden, doubts whether the oldest rivalry in international football remains as fierce.

"Is the rivalry still the same? With the modern players exposed to such amazing highs of performance and competition these days that there is a danger that something like this isn't as important," he said as the nations prepare for their first meeting since 1999.

"But I think as the game comes on and the feeling when they arrive in the stadium then it'll start to dawn on people how important it is.

Scotland assistant boss Mark McGhee

I hope the players enjoy it, not only the fact they're getting an opportunity to play at Wembley - which not many do - but also against England at Wembley is a fantastic stage to play on

Scotland assistant boss Mark McGhee

"We (coaching staff) understand why it's changed but from my point of view I hope the players enjoy it, not only the fact they're getting an opportunity to play at Wembley - which not many do - but also against England at Wembley is a fantastic stage to play on.

"I still measure the highlight of my career as the game I played against England and scoring against them.

"(Despite) All the leagues and cups and European [Cup Winners'] Cup that I won the highlight of my career was the goal I scored against England.

"Many friendlies don't have any edge but I think that this one does."

While McGhee and Strachan are passionate Scots, the assistant coach insists a "scientific" approach will be taken to the Wembley game much in the same way a 1-0 win over Croatia in June was fashioned.

Asked if there would be a Braveheart-style of motivation would be used, McGhee replied: "I think not.

"I think Gordon's style is not to hype too much with that sort of rhetoric," he explained.

"I think Gordon will talk about the football and the match itself, I think that will be the focus.

"I think we have got to be scientific about it, we have to talk about their players and the problems they are going to give us, talk about their strengths and weaknesses and our strengths and weaknesses and try find some way of overcoming them.

"I think that will be the focus for Gordon and not the bombastic, 'Flower of Scotland' type of thing, I don't think that will be mentioned."