England beating anyone presents the opportunity for Scottish fans to get a little bit angry – but when it’s away to Germany, the world champions, just months before the start of a major tournament, it seems to set everyone north of the border mental.
Why? I probably don’t have to explain. If you’re a Scot reading this then you’ll be well aware of the rivalry between the nations dating all the way back to the 14th century.
The countries may intertwine in so many ways – not only just in the union of Great Britain – but that seems to have harboured a lot more resentment than love from our side.
If you’re a Scottish football fan, it’s been hard to take the years of non-stop gloating from the English when it comes to their domestic league and national team.
Sure, the English Premier League probably is the most entertaining in the world. Last-minute Falkirk winners and Tom Rogic worldies apart, we don’t get to shout about our football quite in the same way our neighbours do. It’s not enjoyable seeing billions tune in to the English product when you’re lucky if hundreds of thousands view the Scottish game on certain weekends.
But that’s bearable – sometimes you have to just suck it up and admit defeat.
When it comes to Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions, though, it’s a different story.
There’s almost an inherent rage inside every Scot when talk starts of England going to a major tournament. The media have a big part to play in that – particularly because a lot of what we consume in the north reflects feeling in the south. Watch the BBC or listen to Radio One with any sort of regularity before a major tournament then you’ll know what I mean. It’s near-on impossible to get away from ‘football’s coming home’.
But that’s not me. The simple mention of the words England and golden generation could make the most calm Scot go bonkers, but not me.
A feeling of devastation hit me while I was being entertained by Hodgson’s men on Saturday night.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, England came back from 2-0 down in Berlin to beat Germany and raise expectations for Euro 2016 this summer.
But I can deal with talk that Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Dele Alli and the like are going to banish all memory of big tournament disappointments to lift the trophy in France.
Because I don’t feel angry that England are enjoying themselves – I just feel sad that Scotland aren’t doing it too.
As I saw Eric Dier swarmed by his team-mates following his last-minute headed winner against the Germans, all I could think about was gazing despondently into my barbecue come June.
When the whole of England – and the rest of the UK, for that matter – will be gripped by Euro 2016 fever, we’ll be patiently waiting for the first qualifying rounds of European competition to begin for our clubs.
When Vardy defies the home support to beat every French player, rounding Hugo Lloris at the end, before scoring England’s winner in the final, I’ll think about that glorious could-have-been moment Steven Fletcher scored a consolation in a 4-1 defeat to Slovakia in the group stages.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s hit me. It’s fully dawned on me that Scotland won’t be competing at a European Championships in a country just two hours away when every other home nation (and Ireland) will.
If you hadn’t already grasped just how bad the outcome of our qualifying campaign is, you have now. With 24 spots available, Scotland couldn’t even get a play-off place to enter the competition through the side door.
So forget us hating on England because they’ve got a reason to be excited about going to Euro 2016, I’ve got the soundtrack to the Scottish summer..
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