I remember the days (as a kid) when I’d get excited about Scotland-England games. At the time the countries were neck-and-neck in the number of wins each had over the other, we knew we’d punched well above our weight for a century. Since then, the inevitable verdict of demographics has taken its toll.
Now we know we’re a small nation, inconsequential to the football world, and we’ve even starved of developmental resources compared to the riches that ploughs into the English FA from Premier League TV deals each season.
The historical rivalry remains but I don’t feel it anymore and surely English fans care even less. They will have to dig deep to muster anything more than an interest in the three points available tonight, having long since moved onto Argentina and Germany for their rivalry. And Iceland, of course (forgive me).
Great sporting rivalries can endure for generations but that doesn’t mean they’ll last forever. Circumstances can change causing both sides to lose interest and find others to do battle with. None of our 20th century rivalries will survive. If we could bloody the nose of Barcelona for a third time in the 21st century later this month, our hit rate would place the Catalans in the crosshairs. Bring it on.