Ally McCoist has admitted he “almost feels sorry” for England’s players ahead of their Euro 2020 group clash with Scotland on Friday.
The Scottish legend featured four times in the fixtures between the Auld Enemies over the years, including in the last match between them at a majour tournament in 1996.
McCoist was on the losing side when Paul Gascoigne scored his famous volley as England won 2-0 at Wembley Stadium – the scene of Friday’s meeting between the two nations.
England go into the tie overwhelming favourites, while Scotland are in desperate need of a result to give themselves a chance of reaching the knockout phase.
But McCoist believes the Three Lions could be in for a rude awakening, as he feels they have no idea how much Scotland want to beat them.
Speaking to The Telegraph , the former striker said: “I’ve got a degree of sympathy for the English players and fans because I’m not sure if they want to beat anyone as much as us and the Welsh want to beat them.
“Let’s be honest, our cup final is against England whether it is football, tiddlywinks, tug of war – you name it.
“In our household, there was no warped satisfaction in our household when England lost. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that we wanted to beat them more than anyone when we played them.”
There is plenty of bragging rights at stake when the two teams collide, with the likes of Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, Manchester United’s Scott McTominay and Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney among the stars in Scotland’s ranks.
McCoist recalled scenarios from his playing days whilst at Rangers where the English contingent in the squad would face off with the Scottish nationals in a five-a-side match during training.
Under normal circumstances, he claims the matches were relaxed and friendly, except from one occasion when a Scotland vs England match was on the horizon, and the players went at it “full throttle, tackles flying in. Knocking 10 bells out of each other.”
Then-Gers’ boss Walter Smith eventually had to ban the training matches.
As McCoist remembers, showdowns between the two countries had an “extra edge” and he revealed ex-England captain Terry Butcher even blanked him once before kick-off despite being his club teammate.
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He added that whenever England were playing, it didn’t matter who against, the Scottish players in the Rangers dressing room wanted their opponents to win.
That much was evident with the Wales team at Euro 2016, who were filmed celebrating following England’s shock elimination to Iceland.
As far as his own Scotland career goes, no doubt the pinnacle for McCoist was being involved in the tournament at Euro ’96.
And things could have turned out a lot different were it not for David Seaman’s penalty save from Gary McAllister.
Moments later, Gazza performed his skilful flick over Scots’ defender Colin Hendry before firing hard and low past Andy Goram to send Wembley into raptures.
It remains one of England’s greatest ever goals, but McCoist claims Gazza didn’t even mention it once upon his return to Rangers.
“He never rubbed it in. My own thinking is that he knew how good the goal was. I wouldn’t say he was embarrassed by it, but had it been a tap-in or a deflection he would have given us a bit of stick.”
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