Football: English ignorance bliss for Lambert

Euro 2000 Battle Of Britain: Phil Gordon hears why the Scots can count on priceless edge

SOMETIMES MONEY can weigh down even the most gifted of footballers. Just ask Ronaldo, Nicolas Anelka, or even Duncan Ferguson if their talent and happiness have expanded in proportion to their bank accounts.

So, Scotland could be sitting on a priceless piece of motivation for the European Championship play-offs with England which money could never buy: respect. It is doubtful if David Beckham and Co would get out of bed for the bonus Craig Brown's team have agreed on for qualifying for the finals. The England midfielder probably rang up more than the estimated pounds 25,000 Paul Lambert will pick up the last time he visited Jean-Paul Gaultier.

Yet, as Lambert has already proved once to Beckham and Manchester United, nothing can ever match up to the simple pleasure of winning and stuffing the words of those critics who could not even spell your name right down their throats.

Lambert was an unknown and his Borussia Dortmund side were unfancied when they came to Old Trafford two years ago and rudely ended United's Champions' League dream. That game was as much of a foregone conclusion as the double-header that awaits at Hampden and Wembley.

Lambert and the rest of the Scotland squad will split pounds 350,000 between them should they reach Euro 2000. With Brown having used 33 players in the campaign, that pool of money will see some of the players make as little as pounds 10,000 if Scotland achieve success, while Lambert, who has played in almost every game, will pocket pounds 25,000, half what Kevin Keegan's men will make.

It's not that the Celtic midfielder has a poor estimation of his own worth, far from it, since he was one of the chief dressing-room protagonists in Celtic's Champions' League bonus row a year ago, just that he knows that victory over England would provide everlasting gratitude in his own country, and grudging admiration across the border.

"The Manchester United semi-final was probably the best feeling in my time at Dortmund," says Lambert. "No one rated us and the English media have got a bad habit of being dismissive about sides or players they know little about.

"We had world-class players in our team, like Jurgen Kohler and Andreas Moller, but the talk was all that United were going to the final. John Collins said the same thing when he faced United the next year with Monaco, and they put them out too. Sometimes, you just want people to recognise that you are not a bad player - and I would say we have a few like that in the Scotland team right now."

Craig Burley left Chelsea after being brutally treated by Ruud Gullit before the 1997 FA Cup Final; Billy Dodds has rebuilt his career after an early exit from Stamford Bridge to blossom into a decent international striker.

The Scotland side of 1967, who inflicted England's first defeat as world champions, have all since admitted they would have paid for the privilege of their 90 minutes of fame at Wembley, even men, such as Denis Law and Jim Baxter, who could be hard-nosed and mercenary when it came to wage talks. The inflationary effect of television means that silencing Gary Lineker and Mark Lawrenson is thrown in as an extra bonus.

Few remain in the current side from the Euro 96 encounter. Tom Boyd is out because of a back injury, while Colin Hendry is trying to recover from a knee problem. John Collins has broadened his game with a French title at Monaco since that June day in 1996, while Lambert, who was not even in the squad then, has won the Champions' League with Dortmund. "We have only one player with a European Cup medal," says Brown self- effacingly, "while England have several from Manchester United. But this is a great opportunity to our players to prove a few things to a few people."

Brown has a habit of nurturing such unlikely heroes: in 1995, he called in Tosh McKinlay, who was building his house, after Alan McLaren was injured in training the night before a crucial match with Greece. McKinlay began his international career at 29 and helped in the victory which took Scotland to the last European Championship finals.

While Beckham concerns the Scotland manager, he is likely to hand the marking task to Blackburn Rovers' young wing-back, Callum Davidson, on the basis that youth carries fewer fears.

But between now and Saturday, Brown will be conditioning his players to think European rather than in terms of a Battle of Britain. He wants to impress upon them that this is a tie of two cities, and to adopt the two-leg mentality rather being sucked forward by a partisan Hampden crowd into a hasty approach.

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home