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England v Scotland - is it time to reinstate famous fixture on regular basis?

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Prior to Wednesday's clash between England and Scotland at Wembley, the 'Auld Enemy' hadn't met since the 1996 Euro Finals, when a Paul Gascoigne wonder goal helped England secure a 2-0 win.

Yet over 80,000 were at Wembley to see the friendly arranged as part of the FA's 150 year celebrations. England v Scotland is the World's oldest and possbly fiercest international fixtue and the media and public interest was massive.

Whilst all the pre-match headlines were grabbed by Wayne Rooney it was Southampton striker Rickie Lambert who scored with his first touch in international football that grabbed the headlines after. England twice came from behind to see off Scotland after a breathless encounter at Wemble and ironically Lambert came on for Rooney in the second half for his first cap at the age of 31..

The Southampton striker headed home England's winner just three minutes after replacing Rooney, to spare manager Roy Hodgson's blushes on a night when Scotland twice threatened to cause a huge upset.

Before 1996, the England v Scotland fixture was part of the football calendar within the Home International Tournament.­Starting during the 1883–84 season, it was the oldest international football tournament and it was contested until the 1983–84 season, when it was abolished after 100 years.

Troubles off the pitch including Scottsh fans invading Wembley's pitch in 1977 and the 1981 tournament not finished because of ponblems in Northern Ireland hastened its demise. Whilst there was little appettite to continue that four cornered affair losing England v Scotland has robbed fans of one of the world's great games.

In addition, at the time the authorities cited the cost of policing the games, and the troubles that seemed to follow the fixture off the pitch as the reasons for deleting the fxture from the schedule. But here were very few reports of any major problems before or after Wednesday's clash and times have changed.

Reflecting on the game, FTD's John Booth said:

'Football is for the fans and if you asked supporters north or south of the border, I am pretty sure you would get a huge majority in favour of re-instating this fixture.

'Whilst some have said the Scots are more concerned about winning this fixture than English fans, I'm not sure that's true. Other than perhaps playing and beating Germany no other fixture kindles up the fire like this one for England fans. I for one would bring it back, possibly in a two year cycle in the season between the World Cup and the Euro finals'

JB

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