Scotland 1—3 England

Scotland are the team of glorious failure, epitomised by Archie Gemmill’s glorious goal against the Dutch in the World Cup in 1978.

We were on the march with Ally’s army. England hadn’t qualified for either the 1974 or 1978 World Cups. These were the years when we were a match for England. Now it’s one-way traffic. England are better than us. We don’t so much worry that they’ll beat us, but that they’ll win something like the European Championship, or god help us the World Cup. They’ve got the players for it. That’s the worry.

Much was made of booing the National Anthem. I don’t really give a fuck. Lest we forget, bananas being thrown at England players by their own supporters. Death threats to England players that missed penalties and happened to be black. Scotland fans jeering the names of Celtic players when they were announced in the Scotland team were a hallmark of the team of sixties and seventies. Before that they just weren’t in the team.  

As a footballing match, like the Old Firm game, a few weeks ago, it wasn’t much of a game. For the diddy team to win (Scotland) we know the rules. Steve Clarke the Scotland manager also knows the rules. He used them to great effect at Kilmarnock. Go long. Scrap and fight. Your keeper has got to play a blinder. And most of all, you’ve got to ride your luck.

Harry Kane’s toe is worth more than Ryan Porteous, whose transfer free was around £300 000 and it showed.  Jack Henry, who was equally unconvincing in central defence, cost less than Declan Rice’s hair-do. Kane scored at Hampden again, with eight minutes to go, to ensure Scotland’s hopes of snatching a draw, they didn’t deserve wouldn’t happen.

For most of the game England dominated. They scored two first-half goals within four minutes of each other, with a lot of help from Scotland’s captain, Andy Robinson, which just about say it all. Phil Foden, who was too good and too quick for us, scored the first in 31 minutes. Foden, Bellingham, Rashford, Walker. Foden’s goal might have looked like a deflection, but look again and weep. It was all too quick for the Scottish defence to get their feet right and their mind around.  Jude Bellingham, who was the best player on the pitch, scored the other and set the third up for Harry Kane. I know Bellingham is a Real Madrid superstar, but a punter told me today he was at Rangers Academy when he was a kid. I can’t quite believe that. He’s twenty now. A big kid.  At twelve he’d have been in Ibrox first-team.

Apart from Robertson’s failure to do the basics, clear the ball, and give it to the best player on the park, there was another comic element to the game. Harry McGuire briefly brought Scotland back into the game, after half-time, with an own goal. The last time I heard anything like that was when Celtic were three or four up against Rangers and started cheering the Rangers’ players in a derogatory way when they made a successful pass.

For the diddy team to win, they must ride their luck. John McGinn should have equalised shortly afterwards. For once Lewis Dunk was posted missing. He played the game exactly how I want Celtic’s defenders to play. Imperious in the air. Good on the deck. We’ve not had that since van Dijk. But for once, a ball came off McGinn’s shoulder and went past the post. We could have been on the march with Steve Clarke’s army.

Scotland were waiting for a result in the game with Georgia needing to draw with Norway for qualification for the World Cup to happen. Norway won. But we’ve got 15 points out of 15. Even by limits of glorious failure we can’t be that much of a glorious failure. In the 150th Anniversary Match, England absolutely humped Scotland. The gulf in class was as evident as Aston Villa’s humiliation of Hibs. No great lessons to be learned. We get the usual bile of England until I die from Rangers fans that also happen to be Scottish. Nothing new to report. Booing the National Anthem makes you an SNP supporter. Aye right, Ally, I am an SNP voter. I voted for Brexit with England not Europe and would do so again in a heartbeat.  I’ve not got anything much against the English. I just hate Tory scum and the direction Tory politicians take Britain. It’s not my King. I’m proud they sent troops to George Square after the First World War because Churchill thought there would be a Socialist revolution. Move on.