Scotland boss Steve Clarke is hoping to deliver a result for the nation to savour at Wembley – while keeping alive hopes of European Championship progression.
The national team face England tomorrow night in their second Euros Group D fixture.
There’s plenty riding on this particularly clash with Scotland realistically needing at least a point to give themselves a chance of reaching the knockout stage of a tournament for the first time.
And Clarke knows that every meeting with the “Auld Enemy” means a lot to the country.
Clarke aiming to put a smile on Scottish faces
An estimated 20,000 members of the Tartan Army have travelled to London.
The majority won’t be inside Wembley with coronavirus restrictions limiting the capacity to 22,500.
But Clarke appreciates their support and hopes to deliver a win for Scotland in world football’s longest-running rivalry.
He said: “We want the Scottish fans to come, we want them to behave themselves and have a good time and hopefully we can send them back with big smiles on their faces.
“They are down in England and they are ambassadors for their country and hopefully they go home with a smile on their faces.
“I just prepare for the game. Listen, everybody knows the magnitude of the fixture.
“It’s a historic game, a famous game, there have been lots of moments in the past.
“But if I went back to the moments that meant the most to me the young boys in the squad wouldn’t even remember them.
“It’s a fixture that goes back a long way and everyone is aware of what it means to the people of Scotland. We’ll do our best to get a positive result.”
Boss believes qualification is still on
Scotland have never reached the knockout stages of a major tournament in 10 previous attempts.
Monday’s defeat to the Czech Republic at Hampden means realistically the Scots need four points from their next two games against England and Croatia.
Clarke felt there was very little in the Czech game and is upbeat ahead of facing England.
The 56-year-old added: “I think if you look at the game and analyse the game properly, there was nothing between the teams.
“What we have to do is focus on the next game, which is England.
“We have to try and get something out of the game, because I really feel we are going to need four points to qualify.
“The objective when we started the tournament was to get enough points to get out of the group stage and get into the knockout stage for the first time in our history as the men’s A team.
“We still have that in front of us. We look to get something out of the game against England and obviously we have to get something out of the game against Croatia as well.
“We look forward to those two games.”
Tierney set to return
One boost for Clarke and for Scotland is that Kieran Tierney is set to play.
The Arsenal defender had to miss the Czech Republic game with a hamstring niggle.
Clarke said: “He’s fit and available to play. He trained fully yesterday (Wednesday) and today (Thursday).
“Obviously something could happen overnight, but we don’t expect that and we expect Kieran to be in the starting line-up.
“It’s good for Kieran, it’s good for everybody. You want all your players available and that’s what we’ve got.
“It’s a fantastic fixture to play in, a big game against one of the favourites in the tournament, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Scots won’t lack belief
On paper, the match against the Czech Republic appeared to be the most winnable in the section for Scotland.
But Clarke insists his players have the belief they can leave Wembley with the points.
He said: “The players have to believe in themselves. That is the first criteria.
“They are all good players, they are all playing at a really good level.
“A lot of them are team-mates with some of the lads in the England squad as well.
“They are used to seeing them on the pitch, they are used to seeing each other play big games.
“So I wouldn’t think they wouldn’t have that self-belief to believe they can go there and have that belief to get a good result.”