Scotland took not only the Home Internationals trophy but also the Wembley turf back north of the border when Banchory-born Don Masson was part of a famous win in 1977.
This time Steve Clarke’s Scotland side have to rip up the pitch with a sensational performance to get a win that would kick-start a faltering Euro 2020 campaign.
Scotland are playing catch-up already after a disappointing 2-0 Group D loss to Czech Republic at Hampden in their tournament opener.
Former Scotland captain Masson knows exactly what it takes to beat the English on their own turf as he was an integral part of Ally MacLeod’s side that triumphed 2-1 at Wembley in ’77 to retain the Home Internationals trophy.
That win completed a home and away double having overcome the English 2-1 at Hampden the previous year, with Masson netting a header.
Such was the scenes of jubilation at full-time the exuberant Tartan Army raced onto the Wembley pitch.
Thousands partied on the pitch with many thought to have taken a piece of the famous turf home with them for posterity.
The crossbar of a goal also infamously collapsed under the weight of Scotland fans sitting on it.
This time there will be only 2,600 Scotland fans inside Wembley cheering on their heroes but Scotland and QPR great Masson reckons Steve Clarke’s side could also give them something to celebrate.
Masson said: “Scotland were a really good team and we got a fantastic win in ’77 when the Scots fans broke the goal at Wembley.
“Some of my relatives went onto the pitch and got parts of the turf as well.
“Winning at Wembley is special but it is going to be very hard for this Scotland team to do that.
“I hope they do well but England are a particularly good team now with some strong players.
“To win at Wembley in Euro 2020 would be brilliant but a draw would also be a good result.”
The day Wembley turned Tartan
In the 1977 encounter, Gordon McQueen put the Scots ahead at Wembley in the 43rd minute before Kenny Dalglish doubled their advantage in the 59th minute.
Mick Channon would pull one back for England from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining but it was no more than a consolation goal.
It is thought at least two thirds of the 98,103 crowd in ’77 were Scottish fans.
The day Wembley turned Tartan when the final whistle sounded hordes of kilt wearing, Saltire waving fans flooded onto the pitch.
Scotland have never qualified from the group stages of a tournament in 10 attempts – eight in the World Cup and twice in the Euros.
If they do not get a result at Wembley that unwanted run is likely to extend to 11 major tournaments
Masson, who was born and raised in Banchory before leaving for Middlesbrough at the age of 12, played a key role in securing qualification to the 1978 World Cup finals.
He netted a penalty in a 2-0 defeat of Wales at Anfield that secured qualification for the 1978 World Cup.
Steve Clarke’s Scots cannot leave anything in the dressing room at Wembley
That was back in the days when Scotland qualifying for a major tournament was a regular event.
When the Scots regularly graced major finals no one could have imagined there would be a 23-year wait between the 1998 World Cup in France… and now.
Masson said: “It goes in cycles.
“In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s every good England team had a few good Scottish players in it.
“Now there are only a few although there are good players coming through that are now playing in the Premier League.
“As supporters we can just hope for the best.
“Scotland must do their best, don’t leave anything in the dressing room.
“Play 100% for each other and work for each other.
“If they win at Wembley that could be a real bonus.”
At the World Cup finals in Argentina Masson had a penalty saved in the opening group match against Peru on the hour mark with the game at 1-1.
Unfancied Peru would go on to win 3-1.
Scotland would then draw 1-1 with Iran before beating eventual beaten finalists Holland 3-2 with Archie Gemmill scoring THAT goal.
Having spent his career playing in England, Masson insists victory at Wembley would give Scots based South of the border bragging rights over English team-mates.
He said: “Gerry Francis was the captain at QPR when I was there and we used to have the banter about the Scotland, England games.
“Having gone back having beaten them twice there were two or three from QPR played for England at that time.”
McTominay could be key at Wembley
Masson believes Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay could play a major role for the Scots at Wembley.
McTominay played 50 times for the Old Trafford side last season, scoring seven times, and has also racked up 11 appearances for Scotland in the 2020-21 term.
The 24-year-old was Manchester United’s outstanding performer in the penalty shoot-out loss to Spanish side Villarreal in the Europa League final last month.
McTominay started in a midfield three in the loss to the Czech Republic but moved back into a centre-back role towards the end of the match.
Masson said: “I really like how McTominay goes about his work as he has a winning mentality.
“McTominay is going to be important as he has done so well with Manchester United.
“He is a player who can bring that winning mentality into the Scotland squad.
“McTominay can play at the back, play in midfield and has something about him.”
Beating England home and away
Beating England became a habit for Masson and the Scots as the ’77 Wembley win followed up a triumph win at Hampden in 1976 which secured the Home Internationals trophy for the first time since 1967.
In ’76 England went ahead through a header from Mick Channon who buried his effort beyond Alan Rough.
On 18 minutes the sides were level as Masson latched onto Eddie Gray’s flighted corner to head home with Kenny Dalglish scoring the winner in the second half.
Only 12 months earlier Don Revie had led England to a 5-1 dismantling of Scotland at Wembley.
He said: “I scored with a header and then Kenny Dalglish went through Ray Clemence’s legs towards the end to secure the win.
“The atmosphere was brilliant after going behind.
“England had a fantastic team but we had probably one of the best we had for a long time.
“We had more or less two players for every position as good as each other.
“That Scotland squad from 76 to 78 was fantastic.
“To beat England twice and be Home International champions twice was absolutely brilliant.”
15 minutes from league title glory with QPR
Masson went into that Scotland game in superb form having enjoyed a sensational season at club level with QPR.
However just weeks earlier he had suffered the agony of missing out on the top flight title on the final game of the season.
He was within 15 minutes of securing a league winner’s medal – only for that glorious achievement to be wrenched away by a remarkable Liverpool resurgence.
With QPR’s season already finished Masson faced a nervous wait on Liverpool’s result – ironically as he sat in the stands at Hampden.
Just weeks later that Hampden heartache would turn to joy as he netted for his country against England at the national stadium.
He said: “It was the last game of the season.
“I was at Hampden watching Rangers play Dundee United on Wednesday when Liverpool played at Wolves.
“Wolves had to win to escape relegation and Liverpool had to win.
“I remember someone telling me with 15 minutes to go that Wolves were winning and it looks like you have won the league.
“The rest is history – 15 minutes later Liverpool had put three goals in so unfortunately we didn’t get the title.
“Everyone acknowledges that QPR team of 76 were a great side.
“Then Dave Sexton went to Manchester United after that and the team broke up.
“Frank McLintock was instrumental as he was centre-half and had already won the double at Arsenal.
“Frank was my hero and to play alongside at QPR was fantastic for me.”
Two North-east loons spikkin’ Doric
Masson wasn’t the only North-east loon who excelled south of the border and also for his country.
Aberdeen-born defender Martin Buchan would go on to lift the FA Cup as skipper of Manchester United.
Buchan had already lifted the Scottish Cup in 1970 as Aberdeen captain.
Masson remembers how the referee at one game was left baffled by the two ‘spikkin’ Doric.
He said: “I played for Notts County and Martin was Manchester United captain at Old Trafford we tossed up before the game.
“Martin said ‘fit yi want min.
“A’ll hae heids.
“Then he said ‘okay, A’ll hae the ba.
“The referee and linesman looked at us as if we were mad.
“There were no airs and graces.
“I played with all these players like Kenny Dalglish, a lad from Banchory playing with these stars.”
Masson has recently published his autobiography Still Saying Sorry which is available here.