Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 08:41 GMT
Wembley showdown for auld enemies
History is not on Scotland's side - but the underdogs are used to that
England vs Scotland, 17 Nov, kick-off 2000 GMT
Scotland are praying for an early goal at Wembley to reignite the play-off battle for a place in Euro 2000.
The loser faces a slump in their international rankings which will make qualification for the 2002 World Cup even harder, allied to a period of painful self-analysis and reconstruction.
They must score at least three goals - a feat not achieved since 1967, when Scotland defeated the then-World Champions 3-2.
Moreover, the Scots have won by two goals on English soil only four times in history - and only once since World War II.
The Scots' last victory at Wembley was in 1981. The list goes on.
They have not lost two matches on the trot in the six years Craig Brown has been manager.
Who can forget Archie Gemmill's wonder strike in the 1978 World Cup which sealed a 3-1 victory over Holland?
Certainly Brown appears convinced the upset of the century can happen.
He has been snatching at any crumbs of comfort he can find to try and rally his troops; the absence of injured Martin Keown, the width of the pitch, Tony Adams' Arsenal jinx at Wembley, Scotland's track record against Germany and Brazil.
"It is a ground that affords attacking sides a number of opportunities and that gives us a bit of hope," said Brown of Wembley.
Beckham has the ability to rip the Scots apart although Brown must surely call-up a more effectual marker than Hearts defender Paul Ritchie.
Brown was criticised for his overly cautious tactics in the first leg and has no choice but to risk all in this make-or-break match.
That could mean drafting in Rangers winger Neil McCann to play either down the left flank or behind the front two.
McCann, on the bench for the first leg to the surprise of many, is one of the few Scottish players capable of going past defenders and can also play at centre-forward.
Hearts front-man Gary McSwegan is favourite to replace Gallacher alongside Billy Dodds, with the Scotland boss preferring to keep Celtic youngster Mark Burchill on the bench for a late onslaught should it be required.
Brown could opt to spring a further surprise by playing midfielder Don Hutchison up front in a three-pronged attack.
The Everton star, who has recovered from a calf strain, has played as a makeshift striker before and has the ability to finish as well as break through defences.
The Scots dominated territory and possession in Saturday's showdown but gave the 40,000-plus home contingent few chances to cheer.
Defensively there is little Brown can do to shore up his creaking back-four but wave the blue and white flag.
His gamble of playing injured skipper Colin Hendry in the first-leg did not pay off but who was there to replace him?
Keegan on the other hand has several replacement options for the injured Martin Keown, although he has already indicated Gareth Southgate will get the nod.
Right-footed Jamie Redknapp drew the short-straw on Saturday and his average performance was fiercely defended by Keegan.
The alternatives are hardly sexy - Steve Guppy or Steve Froggatt - but they would give England a more natural shape that may hold together more readily should Scotland rock Wembley with a quick goal.
If that happens, hold onto your hats.
More realistically, with the knives already being sharpened, Brown's six-year reign will almost certainly come to an end if his side fail to produce the biggest upset in the fixture's history.
But if England did somehow allow Scotland to overturn their two-goal advantage it would surely leave Kevin Keegan as the marked man.