Scotland travel to Wembley once again this week, this time for a World Cup qualifier. The Tartan Amy have travelled in their thousands many times to meet the Auld Enemy, and many times they have returned home triumphant. Here are five of their greatest triumphs in the back yard of their oldest rivals.
Five of Scotland’s Finest Wembley Victories
1928 England 1-5 Scotland
Eleven men, affectionately now known as the Wembley Wizards of 1928, made history in remarkable fashion. England were overwhelming favourites heading into the game and their team included the likes of the prolific Dixie Dean.
The Scottish press and fans were not confident, having seen the squad, but backed their team to upset the odds against what was thought to be a superior England side. Three minutes into the game and any thoughts that the Scots were less superior diminished. The away side took the lead and control of the game, taking a 2-0 lead into half-time which could have easily been even larger.
The boys in dark blue penned England back after the break but had to wait 20 minutes for their next goal. Goals four and five soon followed as the Three Lions struggled to contain their opponents. England managed to get a consolation goal late in the game but that mattered little to the Tartan Army on a day they would never forget.
1963 England 1-2 Scotland
Two goals in two first half minutes by the superb ‘Slim’ Jim Baxter ensured victory, the British Home Championship and made it two defeats in two games for England’s new manager Alf Ramsey. Over 98,000 crammed into Wembley to see the two old rivals fight it out to be crowned the winners of the Home Championship.
Within five minutes both teams were down to ten men. Scottish captain Eric Caldow and England’s Bobby Smith collided and had to leave the field. With no substitutes, both teams had to carry on without key players. Scotland, however, would adapt much better than their hosts.
By the time England returned to full strength, Smith returning bandaged and limping, Scotland were two goals up and cruising. The first came after Baxter beat ‘keeper Gordon Banks after intercepting a misplaced pass and the second came from the penalty spot. England grabbed a goal back but Scotland held on. Baxter had run the show and even though he didn’t get his hat-trick he left with the ball underneath his top. And no one could deny him it.
1967 England 2-3 Scotland
The game that made Scotland unofficial world champions. England had won the World Cup less than a year previously and had not tasted defeat in the 19 games following. This was a European Championship qualifier and England were expected to be victorious. The Scotland team were certainly up for this game, especially those who played in the English league and had to put up with taunts in dressing rooms up and down the country since 1966.
Scotland began the match like they were on a mission, deservedly leading at half-time thanks to a goal from Denis Law. 12 minutes from full-time, the army of Scots inside Wembley were celebrating once more, Celtic’s Bobby Lennox making it 2-0. A famous victory over the Auld Enemy was a real possibility. Jack Charlton then pulled a goal back to set hearts racing but with three minutes remaining James McCalliog scored Scotland’s third to seal the victory. Geoff Hurst scored late on but it was too little, too late.
The game made Scotland unofficial world champions. It will also be remembered for legend Jim Baxter juggling the ball effortlessly with his foot, head and knee, almost knowing that the English could not get the ball off him.
Scotland ultimately failed to secure a place at the 1968 European Championship, but that should not detract from the display they gave on this day.
1977 England 1-2 Scotland
Just two years earlier, Scotland suffered a 5-1 hammering at Wembley. This result certainly helped to banish that day. The home of England turned tartan for the day as the Scots roared on their side to a well-deserved victory; their first away to the Auld Enemy in 10 years.
Scotland came into the game on the back of a four-game unbeaten run. They had confidence running through the team and it showed. England were a side in transition, but they were still strong.
The Scots were the better team throughout and deservedly led at the break thanks to Gordon McQueen. The goal bred belief that a victory was on the cards. Kenny Dalglish’s scrappy second killed off England and even though they pulled a goal back late on, there was only ever going to be one winner here.
The scenes after the final whistle are in some eyes more famous than the match itself. Thousands of the Tartan Army invaded the pitch, mainly in good spirits at the final whistle. Many took home parts of the pitch—one fan took the crossbar—as souvenirs. The game and these images will never be forgotten in Scotland and will stay forever in Scottish football history.
The side went on to secure the Home Championship that year. Many believe that with the belief and talent that was within the squad that year, had the World Cup not been one year later, the Scots could have upset quite a few teams and surprised many in the tournament. Unfortunately, it is another case of what might have been as far as they are concerned.
1999 England 0-1 Scotland
A Battle of Britain took place over a two legs. The winner would progress to Euro 2000. England won the first game at Hampden Park 2-0 thanks to two goals from Paul Scholes. The damage looked to have been done but the Scots were not about to give up the fight just yet. In the first game they struggled but in the second game they were transformed and England faced a real test.
Scotland took the game to their hosts in an attempt to reduce the two-goal deficit as soon as possible. They had to wait though until the 39th minute for the breakthrough, Don Hutchison heading home after good work from winger Neil McCann. The lead was thoroughly deserved and every Scot, on and off the pitch, grew in confidence.
In the second half, England were on the back foot for the majority of the game. Scotland poured forward looking to take the tie into extra time. England were being outfought in every department and the second goal looked to be on its way. England were offering very little going forward and did not manage a single shot on target.
With time running out and England defending desperately, Christian Dailly almost scored number two. David Seaman in the Three Lions goal somehow pulled off a fantastic point-blank save to stop the defender’s header.
Somehow, England held on to their slender lead. The right team had won but they should have really took the game to at least extra time. If they had, maybe they would have left Wembley with much more than just the moral victory.