I HAVE many great memories of playing against England at Hampden.
Thirty or 40 years from now, I hope that the current Scotland team can look back on Saturday’s fixture and have it down as one of their finest 90 minutes in the game.
Back in my day, the rivalry was intense, but I never thought there was any hatred between the players.
I’m sure there will be that same determination and will to win next weekend.
Personally, my favourite day at Hampden for my country against the Auld Enemy was in May 1974 when we defeated them 2-0. We won through an early goal from Joe Jordan and then Colin Todd scored an own goal from my cross.
That victory won us the Home International tournament on goal difference, with four points from three games. England only needed a draw to top the group but we played very well that day and got the margin of victory we required.
I remember running around Hampden Park celebrating with my Celtic team-mate, Danny McGrain, and I was also delighted for the manager, Willie Ormond.
It gave us confidence going to the World Cup in West Germany that summer, but unfortunately we were knocked out at the first stage on goal difference.
But the night we beat England became a double celebration because Marina and I had our engagement party that night at Marina’s mum and dad’s house.
Yes, it was quite a day all round!
Of course, there was the goal I scored against England two years later when I put the ball through Ray Clemence’s legs.
Someone had tipped me off he was particularly weak in that area – so I just aimed for there and it worked!
Ray became a team-mate when I joined Liverpool the following year, and from my first training session with the club, the players were asking me to remind Ray of it and wind him up.
I thought that would have been unfair, so I waited until I brought it up in conversation. I think it was the following day!
Ray was an outstanding goalkeeper and there can sometimes be unfortunate moments for footballers, particularly goalkeepers.
Conceding a goal in that manner is not what you would wish for, not at Hampden Park in front of more than 85,000 fans.
Mick Channon gave Don Revie’s men the lead when he headed past Alan Rough, and I think they felt the two points were in the bag.
But we equalised when Don Masson’s powerful header from an Eddie Gray corner bulleted into the net.
We could have had one or two more goals from set-pieces as Joe Jordan and Colin Jackson caused them problems. Then big Joe set me up for the winner in the second half. I took a touch and then slotted it through Ray’s legs.
We attacked really well that afternoon, and I can even remember Danny running through for a one-on-one.
But he must have got a nose-bleed at being in the opposition penalty box and Clemence saved his shot!
But, of course, we didn’t always get it our own way against England – like my first full international against them.
We lost 5-0 to them in 1973 in the SFA’s Centenary celebration match. Some celebration!
I always try to focus on the good times, however, and I was lucky enough throughout my career to have a few of them against England at Hampden, and Wembley.
Looking back, the games against England meant so much, and we didn’t like losing to them.
It was always important to try to win, and there was always determination and desire when we faced them.
The Scotland supporters always made it a special occasion and, whether it was Hampden or Wembley, the Tartan Army took over and made the stadium their own.
They were the 12th man for us on so many occasions and sometimes you felt they were blowing the ball over the line.
Their presence on Saturday will be as important as ever, and they can help give that extra energy and belief to the players as they face a massive challenge.