Scotland V England
Tuesday 18th November. 8PM. ITV 1
All eyes will be cast to Celtic Park on Tuesday night as old rivals Scotland and England do battle in Glasgow.
This is the first meeting on Scottish soil since a heated Euro 2000 play-off fixture back in 1999, which was won by the visitors thanks to two goals from Paul Scholes, and this is set to be another belting contest.
Which team can end 2014 on a high?
Tartan Army Bid To Underline Progress With Landmark Victory
Scotland have undoubtedly seen vast improvements since appointing Gordan Strachan as manager midway through the previous campaign and the Tartan Army are now well on course to qualify for a first tournament appearance in 18 years.
It has unquestionably been a great year for Strachan’s men and beating England would provide a fitting end to it, as well as boosting their morale ahead of an immensely important 2015 schedule.
The Tartan Army has already seen off Republic of Ireland this week with a crucial 1-0 qualifying victory and they’ll be highly confident as the prepare to take on another UK rival. Scotland can also look to last year’s spirited display in the 3-2 loss at Wembley for inspiration and the Celtic Park crowd will also give them another huge lift.
Scotland’s squad may not boast the same wealth as talent as England’s but the hosts have grown into a very capable unit, as was shown with performances against Germany and Poland. However, at home they’ve been a fascinating prospect in recent months and would love nothing more than to continue that impressive form by getting one over the Auld enemy.
In fact, the hosts aren’t just unbeaten at home in the past 12 months, they’ve additionally kept clean sheets in each of those four contests. Whilst Strachan’s defence can anticipate a tough test, the Tartan Army are equally capable of causing havoc in the attacking third themselves. The partnership of Steven Fletcher and Steven Naimsith could prove vital once more; expect another classic battle between the oldest rivals in international football history.
Can Rooney and Welbeck Continue To Shine
Make no mistake, this is more than just a friendly for both sides. However, for Roy Hodgson, there is more at stake than bragging rights as this is a rare opportunity to gauge exactly where his side are right now.
After a dismal World Cup, an easy route to Euro 2016 has offered a fantastic chance for the Three Lions to rebuild the confidence. However, that security has come at a price and the likes of San Marino and Estonia don’t really offer any real learning curve for a side looking to build towards a new generation. A trip to Glasgow is a fantastic chance to see just how much progress has been made.
One promising feature for England this season has been the growing partnership of Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck. The new skipper has scored in four of five matches since taking on the armband, which has been supplemented superbly by the emergence of Welbeck as a star man. The Arsenal man has benefited hugely from operating centrally and could be the key once more against Scotland.
Hodgson is still trying to work out the winning formula, though, and the likes of Nathaniel Clyne could really benefit from what is set to be a hostile contest both on and off the pitch. Meanwhile, Saido Berahino could become an instant hero if he can score against the old rival.
Whatever happens, we should be in for fireworks.
Scotland V England Betting
Despite conceding home advantage, England enter this headline fixture as the favourites at 21/20 with Bet365. However, Scotland certainly have a realistic chance of winning and are priced accordingly at 13/5. Meanwhile, the draw is available at 12/5.
Both nations acknowledge the importance of the clash, even if it is a friendly, and will be eager to put in strong performances. Passions will be running wild and we could see another fantastic spectacle.
Last year’s encounter ended in a five-goal thriller. Whilst the sides may not be able to quite match that one, we’re expecting another cracking contest with chances at both ends.
BTTS & Over 2.5 match goals is 6/4 with Bet365Bet365
The previous match at Wembley was a fairly nervy affair until the deadlock was broken, which sparked the clash into overdrive, and we’re expecting a similar story to develop on Tuesday.
With this in mind, the ‘highest scoring half’ market stands out as a potential goldmine. We’re backing a fare more entertaining second half.
Highest Scoring Half: 2nd is 11/10 with Bet365Bet365