Scotland manager Gordon Strachan urges his players to use the passion of the historic Scotland-England fixture to inspire them at Wembley on Friday night. He says: “The importance of the game is to not be caught up in the emotion of the game, but use the emotion and passion to run further than you’ve ever run before, to jump higher than you’ve jumped before, to concentrate more.”
The Scotland manger could be about to change his tactics and play Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths up front ahead of Fulham’s Chris Martin. So far in the campaign Strachan has stressed the need for a powerful, physical striker.
Strachan feels he has really got to know the players in his squad over the past four years. He says: “Suddenly they have all become part of life, the Strachan household and things like that, talking to them and getting to know everything about them. I get them at their best.”
Football pundit Steven Thompson insists Scotland have to win at Wembley to have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in 2018, but he notes that since beating Ireland at Celtic Park, Scotland have played nine qualifiers and only beaten Gibraltar twice and Malta.
As a good-luck message to the Scotland players, Wembley 1977 Tartan Army “veteran” Robert Lawrie urges readers to rub the newspaper photo of the penalty spot of grass he dug up when he ran on to the pitch to celebrate Scotland’s famous win. Lawrie has replanted the turf in his Elderslie garden.
Gordon Strachan admits that three points against England in the World Cup qualifier would be much better than the sod of Wembley turf he helped himself to in 1977. The Scotland boss interrupted his honeymoon to go to the match and he later planted the turf in his Broughty Ferry garden, though he later sold the house when he moved to Aberdeen.
Captain Darren Fletcher believes world number one men’s tennis player Andy Murray offers all the inspiration Scotland need for their game against England.
Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte has had his bankruptcy order over multi-million pound debts lifted, removing restrictions on his ability to apply for credit. Whyte, 45, was made bankrupt at the High Court in London last year over a debt of more than £20m owed to ticketing firm Ticketus.
After meeting Rangers boss Mark Warburton on Wednesday, striker Martyn Waghorn could leave Ibrox in the January transfer window, possibly for Bristol City or Fulham. He is unhappy at not being offered a new deal like team-mates Rob Kiernan, Wes Foderingham and James Tavernier.
Derby County have expressed an interest in Joey Barton following his release from Rangers. Burnley remain in the frame to re-sign the 34-year-old in January but Derby manager Steve McClaren has offered Barton the chance to train with the Championship club as he weighs up his options.