As MIGHT be expected, proud Englishman Terry Butcher yesterday welcomed the prospect of a return to regular international clashes between England and Scotland.
It emerged this week that a second match between the countries is being planned for November, after August’s 3-2 England win at Wembley, and the Hibs manager is relishing more chances to put one over the Scots, as he did on four occasions as a player.
“I’m delighted it’s back,” said the former England skipper yesterday. “It’s a great fixture – the oldest international game in the world. And having watched them as a kid and then played in them I think it’s a great occasion and something that the youngsters of today should be pleased to see.”
Butcher, who won 77 caps, denied players south of the Border ever grew bored of the fixture. “I loved beating Scotland,” he said. “I could never get bored beating Scotland. I hated losing.”
Butcher only finished on the losing side once, when England fell to a Richard Gough headed winner at Hampden Park in 1985. He described the match in August, when England came out on top in a five-goal thriller, as an “eye-opener” and admitted it proved that games between the teams could be tight, exciting affairs. “People thought ‘wow’, it was a cracking fixture,” he said.
The recent clash at Wembley was the first between the countries since they met in a two-legged Euro 2000 play-off tie in November 1999. Games were once an annual feature of the international fixture-list.
“We lost at Hampden to Richard Gough’s fluke goal in the top corner,” recalled Butcher, while warming to the theme. “And then you come and see the baggage handlers at the airport, even the coach driver. Then you had to fly back and face the Johnny Warks and Alan Brazils at your club [Ipswich] and it was merciless the stick you got. It’s horrific. We did have our day when we won so that was nice.”
Butcher pointed out that the match might be supplied with even more spice if Scotland votes to become an independent country in September. “I think it would be a most interesting game if Scotland became independent first,” he said. “Not that I think that would happen – or at least I hope it wouldn’t happen. That would be an unbelievable set of events. Would England require a visa to play the game. Would I need one to be here?”
BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon
THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.
The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.
• Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.
A line-up of experts will handle your questions after each BT Sport game. Most match days, the team includes Darrell Currie, Derek Rae and Gary McAllister.
Over this season, BT Sport will air 30 SPFL matches plus 10 Rangers games from the SPFL League One.
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