Date: 10th September 2007 at 3:31am
Written by:

Scotland are better than England??

That appears to be the feeling up north of Hadrian`s Wall right now as the Lion Rampant flags roar with victories in a group which is undoubtedly the most difficult of all the European Championship qualifying sections.

It appears that whilst another glorious failure is predicted eventually, Scotland has woke the world of football up by the performances they have produced during this campaign to the extent that many of the Tartan Army would love a match up with the Auld Enemy sooner rather than later.

With England toiling to put the ball in the net at one end and keep it out at the other during their qualification process, the euphoric Scottish people are dreaming of a match-up that would pit the sides together with obviously a positive outcome in mind and erase the memories of Euro 1996 as well the 2-0 Hampden play-off defeat inflicted by the goals of Paul Scholes on November 14, 1999.

Most Scotland fans concede that individually England are superior and therefore should be the able to deal with a team that is forged primarily from players who star for teams at the bottom end of the Premiership, with the odd exception, and guys who often sit on the dugouts of Ibrox and Parkhead.

There can be no doubt that the English Premiership with all it`s excellent sponsorship and Tv deals is an outstanding spectacle, possibly the most exciting league on the planet and one which harbours the most of Planet Earths` elite talent at present but therein lies the national squads` downfall.

With the top teams in England able to buy the top talent worldwide and the teams below able to buy international class players without breaking sweat, it`s easier to purchase a ready made talent that to produce their own.

Scotland suffered from this problem ten years ago but thankfully the TV deals dried up and we now are again able to have selection headaches due to the fact each club had no money to purchase foreign mercenaries which resulted in teams having no option but to blood their own.

Whilst we are a distance away from having a legend in the side, players like Fletcher, McFadden, Hutton, Gordon, McManus, Maloney, O`Connor and Brown are capable of being part of side that can grow and create their own special chapter in Scottish football history with youth certainly in their favour.

England, and to Steve McLaren`s credit, brought back the likes of David James, David Beckham and Emille Heskey such was their lack of options and lack of English players in form but it does point to a notable drought in new players progressing through their ranks capable of playing at that standard.

Alex McLeish was able on Saturday to bring off his first choice strikers and replace them with players of a Premiership standard who either set up a goal or scored themselves which proved that there is genuine competition within the ranks and should be for the foreseeable future.

It`s all looking very rosy for the national team presently and great to hear that Theirry Henry is out of the France match but there is still along way to go before teams begin to fear McLeish`s boys as much as McLaren`s men are.

It works in Scotland`s favour though because as underdogs we surpass our expected ability. I f we were regarded as a top class side no doubt teams would raise their game accordingly as England find during each outing.

With that said, there is an amazing unity within the Scotland squad right now with each man prepared to fight to the end for the cause which makes us a formidable and unwanted prospect to face, something England with all the megastars can`t boast.

We`re unfashionable and unrepentant with only points to care for, not performances.

This is actually a golden period for Scottish fans as nobody expected success when this campaign begun so the realistic sliver of hope is a total bonus.

Time will tell if Scotland are better than England. There is unlikely to be an official match up but if Scotland can achieve first or second in a group that involves World Cup winners Italy and Runners-up France then who would fear our neighbours down south?

Bring it on!