‘England dislike us as much as we dislike them’

Graeme Souness warns that England will want to win. Picture: TSPL
Graeme Souness warns that England will want to win. Picture: TSPL
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A WITHERING look and a curl of the lip told exactly what Graeme Souness thought of the suggestion that Scotland’s friendly against England on Tuesday might have an “after-the-Lord-Mayor’s-show” feel about it following on from the monumental Euro 2016 win over the Republic of Ireland.

“No. Impossible. The hype will be enormous because it always is,” snapped Souness.

Even though the former Rangers and Liverpool manager is immersed in the English game, he baulked at the contention that Tuesday’s encounter means much more to the smaller team, Scotland, than their more expansive English counterparts – even in the face of hints that Roy Hodgson may field some largely untried players. Souness, though, seems to believe they are still in need of fresh blood. Excited by Scotland’s progress under Gordon Strachan, in contrast he has been completely underwhelmed by England in the Hodgson era.

“You can be guaranteed the English players will want to come up here and stuff us,” the 61-year-old said. “They’re no less passionate than we are. That’s something we used to kid ourselves on about, that we were more passionate than them. No – they dislike us as much as we dislike them. At times…

“Roy Hodgson will want to come to Glasgow and turn us over. [It wouldn’t do him any favours to lose to us] and he’ll know that. The English media will go after him. That’s not new. It’s a hard job managing England, I’d imagine. You are always only 45 minutes away from getting dog’s abuse. The expectation levels are massive.”