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Friday, November 12, 1999 Published at 13:12 GMT

Scots relish Auld Enemy showdown

Scotland fans are relishing facing the Auld Enemy

As fans started arriving for the Scotland v England Euro 2000 qualifier at Hampden, the Scots began gearing up to face the Auld Enemy.

The BBC's George Eykyn: "For some, following Scotland's team is a religion"
For Scotland fans, the sense of occasion was intensified by the prospect of playing the English.

Flagmakers have been working overtime producing saltires for the big game and many businesses have announced plans to close down completely for the occasion.

Ian Findlay, of City Barbers in Glasgow, said: "As long as they win, I think it will be worth it.

Scotland fans explain just how important the Euro 2000 clash is
"Scotland's a proud nation, so, this will do our confidence a world of good if we can get a victory over England."

The Tartan Army has a reputation for good cheer, whatever the result, but the Euro play-offs have been very seriously indeed.

Veteran campaigner Ian Black said: "I think that it probably means more to the average Scot to beat England than it does to the average English person.

Carnival atmosphere

"There are fewer English football supporters in terms of the relative population, but its the Auld Enemy."

One English fan said: "Getting through to the finals is the big thing.

[ image: Ian Black: Match means more to Scots]
Ian Black: Match means more to Scots
"It would be lovely to beat the jocks but, in the end of the day, they're not that good a team.

"So it's not a big scalp or nothing like that. Its just beating the old enemy."

However, that was not a view shared by a Scotland fan who was preparing to return home for the big game.

He said: "It's being going on a long time - it's the oldest international in history."

Scotland manager Craig Brown talks about how his team are preparing for the match
"There's a lot of rivalry but as long as it's just friendly rivalry. There's been a lot of talk in the paper about travelling hooligans but I don't think that element will get involved."

Importance of history

Another fan reiterated the importance of history.

"It's in the blood. It goes back a long way," he said.

BBC Scotland's James Shaw speaks to fans in one of Glasgow's west end pubs
The authorities expressed the hope that the added rivalry would create an unforgettable football match.

Strathclyde Police said it would seek to ensure that all all hostilities were played out on the football pitch and nowhere else, and announced proposals for a huge security operation.

Officials urged supporters to create a Caledonian carnival and not a Culoden.

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In this section

Scotland squad guide

England squad guide

Great border skirmishes

Generals in the firing line

A history of fierce football rivalry

Fans in court over football trouble

Scotland v England

Lambert out of play-offs

Hendry's double jeopardy

Brown cautious over Hendry injury

The limitations of passion-play

England claim the prize

All quiet after Wembley showdown

Timeline: England v Scotland II

Hooligans face up to smart cameras

Cheers and tears for Scotland