Disappointment at Wembley has been a recurring theme in the 144-year history of the world’s oldest football international. In 30 Wembley meetings, between 1924 and 2013, Scotland have beaten England a mere nine times.
1928: England 1 Scotland 5
Arguably Scotland’s greatest win, as a hat-trick from outside right Alec Jackson, the only one ever scored by a Scot in a Wembley international, and a brace from Alex James, helped the Scots thrash their hosts and, amazingly, avoid the wooden spoon in the Home Internationals. Immortalised as the Wembley Wizards.
1938: England 0 Scotland 1
A decade after the wizards, and having lost three and drawn one of the Wembley matches since that great win, the Scots got it right again in a somewhat low-key game. Scotland’s main man was future managerial giant, Hearts’ Tommy Walker, who scored the only goal of the game after six minutes.
1949: England 1 Scotland 3
It would be 11 years before Scotland would again taste victory under the twin towers. Morton goalkeeper Jimmy Cowan performed miracles in stemming England’s early pressure, but, the Scottish defence of Rangers full-backs, skipper George Young, Sammy Cox and Willie Woodburn tamed the English dangermen, Stanley Matthews, Jackie Milburn and Tom Finney.
Big Billy Houliston unsettled the English defence and goals from Jimmy Mason, Billy Steel and Lawrie Reilly had the game over long before Milburn got England’s consolation goal.
1951: England 2 Scotland 3
Two years later and eight of the 1949 winners again travelled south. Again England started better, with debutant Harold Hassall shooting them ahead in 26 minutes. But, Wilf Mannion of England was carried-off after a clash of heads with Billy Liddell.
Debutant Bobby Johnstone cancelled-out Hassall’s goal in 33 minutes, second half strikes from Reilly and Billy Liddell made the game safe for Scotland, before Tom Finney got a second goal for the short-handed and tiring English.
1963: England 1 Scotland 2
As after the 1928 win, the 1949 and 1951 successes brought painful pay-back. Scotland lost 7-2 in 1955, then 9-3 in 1961. However, after a first Hampden win for 25 years, in 1963, the Tartan Army headed south in confident mood for the game.
Skipper Eric Caldow was carried-off with a broken leg after five minutes, but, for the ten-man Scots, Davie Wilson dropped back to left-back to play the game of his life, while Jim Baxter completely dominated the game, with two goals in two minutes, before Bryan Douglas got a consolation goal for England in the 80th minute.
1967: England 2 Scotland 3
If ever a game was crying out for a Scottish win it was the one on 15 April, 1967. England had won the 1966 World Cup on the same Wembley pitch, and had put together a 20-game unbeaten run. What more incentive to win did Scotland have.
The Scots were confident: “We will not just beat them, we will humiliate them 1-0” said Baxter pre-match. He was as good as his word. Unfit and overweight he summoned-up one last hurrah to inspire a Scottish win which was much-more emphatic than the score-line suggests.
Scotland were unofficial “World Champions” on the back of goals from Denis Law, Bobby Lennox and debutant Jim McCalliog. Jackie Charlton and Geoff Hurst scored for England, but, their side was well beaten as Baxter played keepie-uppie.
1977: England 1 Scotland 2
Again, the English retaliation was brutal. Scotland lost 4-1 in 1969, 3-1 in 1971 and 5-1 in 1975. But, in 1977, on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run, it was time for Scotland to win again.
Gordon McQueen rose to head them in front just before the break, then, on the hour, Kenny Dalglish bundled home a second goal for the visitors. Mick Channon’s late consolation for England wasn’t enough, and the Tartan Army invaded the park to take down the goalposts and dig-up the pitch. Disgraceful behaviour, but we loved it.
1981: England 0 Scotland 1
By now, the Football Association didn’t really want the Scots to come calling, and the Home Internationals were on their last legs. The 1981 game was far from being a classic, but, that didn’t concern the Tartan Army, who bellowed their celebrations as John Robertson scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in 64 minutes.
1999: England 0 Scotland 1
Annual meetings between football’s oldest international rivals ended in 1989. Henceforth the countries would only meet if drawn together in the World Cup or European Championships. This happened in the 2000 Euros qualifying campaign play-off round.
England won 2-0 at Hampden. Four days later, at Wembley, the Scots knew they had to not only win, but, overhaul England’s two-goal advantage. Don Hutchison gave the Scots a lifeline with his 38th minute header but they couldn’t score again and England rather than Scotland qualified for the finals.