WEMBLEY tonight will be no place for the neutral.
With 14,000 foot-soldiers in the Tartan Army set to descend on the capital for the 113th instalment of football’s oldest - and, still, one of its fiercest - rivalries, passions will be running high both on and off the pitch.
No quarter will be asked nor given in a World Cup qualifier given additional spice by being likely to go a long way towards deciding the futures of both managers.
Amid all the rancour and hostility, however, there will be a moment shortly before kick-off when 90,000 men, women and children will fall silent to honour the war dead of both countries.
Fittingly, the footballers of England and Scotland will do so sporting the ultimate symbol of remembrance and hope, the poppy.
FIFA’s stance, however well meant in a world where no two conflicts are the same, to ban both sets of players from sporting the poppy on the grounds it could be construed as a political symbol was, like much the governing body does, simply wrong.
What could be more fitting than two countries who have suffered horrendous losses of life wanting to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice on this, the eleventh day of the eleventh month?
The FA and SFA quite rightly chose to ignore FIFA, opening up the possibility of being hit with a punishment in the future. A fine or even a possible points deduction was mooted when the poppy furore first broke last week.
‘Que sera, sera’ has to be the response to that threat as, no matter how nauseating it will be to see a disgraced organisation taking the moral high ground, the stance that will see poppies proudly worn by England and Scotland tonight is the right one. What price respect, after all.
The Yorkshire Post is the sister title of The Scotsman.