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'I love these games' - Hodge on England-Scotland

Posted on 18 November 2014  - 15:25

Steve Hodge can still feel the crunch of his first England-Scotland fixture.

Steve in action at the LanePart of the 1986 World Cup squad in Mexico

The midfielder who played a key role in our great 1986-87 team that finished third in the league, runners-up in the FA Cup and reached the semi-finals of the League Cup joined us with his first taste of football's oldest international rivalry still fresh in the memory.

That came just three months before he switched to Spurs from Villa in November, 1986.

As the teams prepare to face each other again at Celtic Park this evening (Tuesday, November 18, 8pm), Steve recalled his match-up against Graeme Souness and what it means to play in a match that goes back to 1872.

"The first time I played Scotland was my second cap," he reflected. "I’d come on as a sub against Russia and my first start was England against Scotland at Wembley in 1986, prior to the World Cup.

"The World Cup was two months away and we all knew we had a chance of making the squad. I gave it my best shot and I was up against Graeme Souness, a great player at Liverpool and a bit scary on the pitch!

"Those were real battles because in those days, you could kick players three or four times before you’d get a yellow card!

"I played decently, we won 2-1 and I got into the World Cup squad.

"I remember watching England against Scotland as a kid, I remember when they won in 1977 and the fans took the crossbar down at Wembley, so to be on the pitch in front of 75,000 fans with the World Cup at stake, it was a pressure game but the sort of game you want to play in and want to win - and we did that with a Glenn Hoddle header!

"I love these games. I remember going back England played Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland at the end of every season.

"It’s great to see all the Home Nations doing well. I always love England vs Scotland battles. I played in Forest vs Celtic, Leeds against Rangers in the European Cup, they are always feisty affairs and you always want to win those games!"