First goal key for Scotland against England at Wembley, insists 1999 star Billy Dodds



BILLY Dodds starred for Scotland the last time they won at Wembley 17 years ago – but reckons the game-plan will not have changed much since that famous night.

Gordon Strachan’s side have been given little hope of pulling off a shock victory in the Three Lions’ back yard on Friday evening and Dodds knows just how that feels.

In their Euro 2000 play-off in 1999, on the back of a 2-0 defeat at Hampden, the Scots were expected to be rolled over by the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Alan Shearer and Michael Owen.

(Pic: Richj1209)
The current Wembley Stadium (Pic: Richj1209)

Instead, Craig Brown led the Tartan Army to a 1-0 win that fell just short of forcing extra-time in a tense qualification decider.

Don Hutchison’s header gave Scotland the crucial opening goal on that occasion and Dodds believes scoring first will be key yet again.

But he fears that if England are the team to find the breakthrough then Strachan’s strugglers could be in for a long 90 minutes.

He said: “It’s the old cliches – you get through the first half an hour, don’t give England anything to build on and then you play for that first goal.

“If we were to get the first goal it would be a huge confidence boost for us, especially the way it’s been going for us, and then I think the game will look after itself.

“Lose the first goal and I’d be a worried man.”

He added to BBC Scotland: “I’m looking forward to the match and we all know what’s at stake. We need some points on the board after a disappointing start.

“I’m always, as a Scotland fan, optimistic, but I think we have to say it could go the other way and we could be in for a real hard time with the way the group’s sitting just now.

“They say the pressure’s on England but there’s more pressure on us now.”