Harry Kane credits Royal Marines for late Hampden equaliser

Gareth Southgate's deployment of his England squad on a Royal Marines Commando training camp in Devon in the build-up to their visit to Hampden provoked mild mocking and even downright derision among some observers.

England's Harry Kane celebrates his late volley that rescued a point at Hampden. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
England's Harry Kane celebrates his late volley that rescued a point at Hampden. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

For Southgate’s stoppage-time 
saviour Harry Kane, however, the unusual choice of bonding session was a 
key factor in their ability to overturn Scotland’s 2-1 lead in such dramatic 
circumstances.

On a day he described as the most special of his career so far as he was named England captain for the first time, the Tottenham striker was keen to stress the value of their overnight stay on the wilds of Woodbury Common.

“When we went away with the Marines, we spoke about being ready for any situation,” said Kane. “If things do take a turn for the worse, then always be ready for that. Never drop your heads.

“When we went 2-1 down, a few lads could have been on their knees or had their heads in their hands. But we 
managed to stay calm. They stuck their chests out, held their heads up, walked back to the centre circle and said ‘Let’s get something from this’.

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“I would say that equalising goal was probably the most special moment of my career. I didn’t want to lose my first game as England captain, especially against Scotland.

“To score that goal was great as it has been a while since I have scored for England. It was special. To be captain and score in the last minute was a very proud moment.

“I would love to remain captain, although we have plenty leaders in our squad. That is what is good about this England team.

“Personally, I picked up a lot about leadership from the time we spent with the Marines. The main thing was about standing up to difficult situations. In the Marines, of course, they have life and death situations.

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“We just tried to take as much as we could from what they told us into our game and I think we stood up and were counted. We had a couple of the Marines come up to the game and watch us, so it was great to see them again afterwards.”

Kane, who has now scored six times in his 18 appearances for England, relished his first experience of Hampden and left 
satisfied with the point which keeps his country at the top of Group F
and firmly on course to secure the automatic qualification place for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

“Hampden is a tough place to come to and there was a great atmosphere,” added the 23-year-old.

“The way the game panned out, it was a good point for us. If you manage to score in stoppage time to take something from it, you go away from any game fairly 
happy.

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“I felt we controlled the game for large parts and eventually opened the scoring with about 20 minutes left. It looked like we would go on and win the game at that stage, but out of nowhere they score two freekicks. Suddenly it looked like a bad day at the office for us. So to then go again as a team and for no-one to drop their heads, it was a proud moment.”

England have now gone 35 games and almost eight years since they last lost a World Cup or European Championship qualifying match.

Scotland will now hope they extend that sequence in the remaining four rounds of fixtures, as England victories over Slovakia and Slovenia will be just as crucial to Gordon Strachan’s hopes of securing second place in the group as his own team’s need to win their own matches.

“It was important to us to keep that unbeaten record going,” admitted Kane. “Sometimes in international football, surprises happen and that was almost the case at Hampden. Scotland got two goals from nowhere but we still managed to get a point. We are in a great position to qualify now and with four games to go, we feel should win all of them.”

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Kane claimed England were aware of the threat Leigh Griffiths posed from set pieces, although his initial description of the Celtic striker as “their lad up front” perhaps suggested otherwise. Griffiths’ profile south of the border, where he had an underwhelming spell at Wolves earlier in his career, is certainly much higher now and Kane chose to accentuate the positives of his contribution rather than examine England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s failure to keep them out.

“We look at opposition set plays before every game and we knew Griffiths had a great free-kick on him,” added Kane. “To be fair to him, he’s stuck two 
fantastic free-kicks at the death. I don’t think there’s anything Joe Hart could have done about them and you have to give credit where it is due.”