Football

Scotland need no reminder of rivalry

Scotland players need no reminder of rivalry with England, says assistant manager

GROUP F

ENGLAND v 
SCOTLAND

(Saturday, 3.35am, Singtel 
TV Ch 109 - Eleven)

Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee has insisted that no one in their camp needs to be reminded of the age-old rivalry with England.

Three Lions' interim manager Gareth Southgate was ready to give a crash course of the football history between both countries to any English player requiring one ahead of the World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday morning (Singapore time).

However, McGhee believes that no one in Gordon Strachan's squad will need such tuition.

Speaking at the Scots' Mar Hall Hotel base on the outskirts of Glasgow, he said: "Anyone who needs reminding of that maybe shouldn't be here.

"Every single one of the players knows that. A lot of these boys play in England.

"I think it was Graeme Souness saying recently that don't be mistaken, the English players want to win this game just as much as the Scottish players and English supporters want to win just as much as the Scottish supporters.

"So I don't think either group of supporters or players need reminding but, of course, if the manager chooses to take that line, that will be up to him."

As well as taking inspiration from Scottish tennis star Andy Murray, who became the men's top-ranked player in the world on Saturday, McGhee will use the last time Scotland played England in a competitive game in London - in November 1999 - as an example of how a victory against the odds can be achieved.

Scotland had lost 2-0 to England at Hampden in the first leg of their Euro 2000 play-off and were written off for the return match at Wembley.

However, a goal from Don Hutchison gave Scotland a well-deserved win, although it was not enough to prevent them going out.

The Motherwell boss said: "Underdogs in football consistently do have their day, so we have to believe that and that certainly would be an example of when that happened."

A 1-1 draw against Lithuania at home and a 3-0 defeat in Slovakia last month left Scotland in fourth place in Group F with four points from three games, but McGhee insists the squad are ready to make amends.

DEFY FIFA

Meanwhile, Scotland captain Darren Fletcher insists his country is right to defy Fifa and wear poppies as a symbol of respect for its armed forces.

The Scottish and English Football Associations have said their teams will wear poppies on black armbands during the game, which goes against a Fifa directive.

However, West Brom skipper Fletcher feels they are doing the right thing. He said: "I think everyone would love to wear the poppy and wants to wear the poppy to show our respect.

"Fifa has its rules and you understand why but hopefully common sense prevails."

Scotland are also set to play in pink shirts, with Fifa ruling the white sleeves on their blue home kit clash with the light blue sleeves on England's home strip. - PA Sport.

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