Scotland v England Preview: Can England bounce back after draw against Ukraine

12 September 2023

England travel north of the border this evening, to take on Scotland in a special 150th Anniversary Heritage Match to mark the first ever international which was played between the sides back in 1872.

The match is part of a year-long series of events that are celebrating the history of the Scottish FA.

It has been billed as a friendly, but as we know when these two teams play the word ‘friendly’ doesn’t get very far. 

For those younger fans the Head-to-Head is surprisingly close with England coming out on top 48 times to Scotland’s 41 with 26 draws thrown in for good measure.

The hosts are flying at the moment - unbeaten in over a year and sitting pretty at the top of their Euro 2024 qualifying group. Their most eye-catching result came back in March when a Scott McTominay brace saw them defeat Spain at Hampden Park.

England are also in decent form. Four wins from five in their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign and only conceding two goals has also put them top of their group.

England could only manage a 1-1 draw with Ukraine on Saturday despite being just 2.2 to win to nil. They lacked a real creative spark and found it tough going in Warsaw. The England boss, Gareth Southgate, has once again come under fire for his team selection and his decision to leave Jordan Henderson on the field and take Jude Bellingham - one of the world’s form players - off while the game was level was confusing to say the least.

The last time the two sides met was a fantastically dull 0-0 draw during the group stage of Euro 2020. In contrast, the last time they played at Hampden in 2017, produced a dramatic finish. With three minutes of regular time remaining England were leading 1-0, but two Leigh Griffiths free kicks in the space of three minutes later and England were facing defeat. Hampden went mad. Only for Harry Kane to score in the 93rd minute to save a point for England.

There is no doubt that the gap between the two sides is closing. In his pre-match press conference Southgate was keen to emphasise the strength of Scotland, "We see it as a really good test of us as a team. You're playing a high level opponent in a really intimidating atmosphere and they're the nights that have been important in our growing process,” he said. 

In the opposite dugout Steve Clarke said: "I've got some things I want to see on the pitch against England, testing ourselves against top opposition, which we are going to come across more often in the next 12-18 months.”

Scotland boast a plethora of Premier League talent with captain Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, Kieron Tierney, Billy Gilmour and John McGinn. Despite this they have not been able to beat England since 1999. 

The home side arrive in top form and with the help of a raucous home crowd, back them at 4/1 to get over the line against an England team that seem low on confidence and devoid of attacking threat.

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