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SFA REFUSE TO TAKE ON ENGLAND IN PARADISE

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ENGLAND’S chances of beating Scotland in Glasgow in the World Cup qualifiers have been given a massive boost – by the SFA.

Alan McRae, the SFA president, has confirmed Scotland’s Saturday night World Cup-tie against England will go ahead at Hampden in June 2017 and not at the bigger, noisier, more atmospheric Celtic Park.

The Scots were landed with Roy Hodgson’s team in Group F at Saturday’s St Petersburg draw, along with Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.Last year the oldest international rivalry in world football was played at Celtic Park, which allowed around 10,000 more fans to see the game than if it had been played at Queen’s Park’s ground.But new SFA president McRae insisted there is no chance of a return to Celtic Park when the two nations meet in just under two years’ time.

He said: “The game will be played at Hampden. That’s our national stadium. The only reason the Scotland v England game was at Parkhead last year was because Hampden was out of commission for the Commonwealth Games.”

And SFA chiefs will soon meet for discussions with their FA counterparts over ticket allocation for the two games.

The Tartan Army were handed a bumper 20,000 allocation for their last trip to Wembley in 2013, which were quickly all snapped up. And England were also handed a generous allocation for last year’s friendly at Celtic Park. But for a World Cup qualifier, allocations are likely to be slashed and McRae revealed talks will be held soon.

He said: “It’s probably too early to say, but we’ll try and get the best for our fans. I was at both games in 1999 [for the Euro 2000 play-offs, when England won 2-1 on aggregate]and they were terrific. Both games at Hampden and
 Wembley will be wonderful occasions for the fans and we’re very much looking forward to it.”

Some of the biggest sides in world football including Barcelona and Manchester United have been literally blown away by the very special atmosphere that only a packed Celtic Park can create.
If Scotland wanted to increase their chances of reaching a World cup Final for the first time since 1998 when Celtic assistant manager John Collins equalized from the penalty spot against Brazil in the opening match, then Celtic Park would have given the national side it’s best possible chance.
10,000 Scots will be disappointed not to get tickets for this match and over 5 million may rue the decision made by the SFA on one Saturday evening in June 2017.
 
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