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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 01:14 GMT


Police prepare for Euro decider

Scotland fans in good cheer despite the deficit

Police have launched a massive operation to prevent trouble ahead of the second leg of the England v Scotland Euro 2000 qualifier at Wembley.

The Metropolitan Police said undercover police had been placed on alert at airports and stations as fans began arriving for the match.

Officers from Scottish forces have also been drafted in to assist a huge police presence around the stadium in their effort to identify troublemakers and potential flashpoints.

[ image: Police pledge tough action]
Police pledge tough action
They voiced a determination to prevent any repeat of trouble when the two sides met at Euro 96.

Hundreds of officers were stationed in the centre of London, at known troublespots like Trafalgar Square and in the West End, following disorder in 1996.

There were 170 arrests in Glasgow when Scotland and England met at Hampden Park on Saturday in a match which England won 2-0.

However, Strathclyde Police said it was pleased with its arrangements for the match and violence was relegated to minor skirmishes.

Deputy assistant commissioner Michael Todd, of the Metropolitan Police, said detailed contingency plans were now in place for the Wembley game and while some arrests were inevitable, officers would seek to stamp out any trouble.

Known troublemakers

He said known troublemakers would be spotted if they decided to attend the match and officers would act if they "start to misbehave".

Mr Todd warned fans without tickets not to go near Wembley but it was thought many ticketless Scottish fans would now stay away following Saturday's result.

[ image: Michael Todd: Massive operation]
Michael Todd: Massive operation
"We are running a very, very strong anti-ticket tout operation," he said.

Despite a 2-0 deficit, Scottish soccer fans arriving in London on Tuesday said their side could turn the tables.

"We'll beat you 3-0 at Wembley," sang 25 members of the Peebles Tartan Army as they posed for pictures after getting off a train at King's Cross.

The fans, clad in kilts and waving flags, said it would be difficult to overturn the deficit but it could be done.

"Win or lose, we're going to have a good time," one said.

Another, farmer Kevin Wood, 31, said: "You have to be hopeful."

Another fan joked: "England are a very poor team. It's just that we were a wee bit worse."

Almost 140 fans appeared in court in Glasgow on Monday facing offences including breach of the peace and carrying offensive weapons after Saturday's first leg.

Most pleaded not guilty and were freed on bail.

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