Strachan rejects ‘bloodbath’ talk before England reunion

Dismissing any suggestion their 1-0 win over Ireland on Friday was “a bloodbath”, he said the fiercely competitive Group D match, which Scotland won thanks to a “wee bit of magic” from goalscorer Shaun Maloney, was played in “terrific spirit”.


England will be playing on Scottish soil for the first time in 15 years at Celtic Park, and matches between the two – dating back 142 years – have never been for the faint-hearted.

“It will be intense tomorrow and the English players will enjoy the atmosphere, I think,” he said on Monday at Scotland’s training camp at Bishopton, 15 miles west of Glasgow.

“Friday’s match was physical but fair. Let’s make that correct. I think people think it was some sort of bloodbath, it was nothing like that.

“It was people going toe to toe and respecting each other – there is a big difference from that and a bloodbath, which we have seen many times over the years.

“It was a game played in the right manner. I thought it was played in a terrific spirit and I know it is going to be the same tomorrow night.

“Everyone on our side is a competitor and they want to make it as difficult as possible for the other team to win. Fortunately we had a wee bit of magic on our side that allowed us to win but it will be as intense tomorrow, that’s for sure.”

Strachan said he was still unsure of his starting lineup, but if goalkeeper David Marshall is not fit, Craig Gordon could play his first international for four years.

There will be a minute’s applause before kickoff as a mark of respect for 20-year-old Nathan McSeveney, who died in a fall at Celtic Park after Friday’s match.

“We send our condolences to Nathan’s family. When we heard the news on the bus it took our breath away so the SFA is doing as much as it can to help Nathan’s family at this difficult period,” Strachan said.

The last time England played in Scotland, in 1999, there were 200 arrests, but local police are confident there will be no repeat of that trouble on Tuesday.

“We have contingency plans in place,” a spokesman told Sky Sports.

(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Stephen Wood)