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.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
tvGame of Thrones season 5 episode 1 review
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
News
i100
News
people
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Sport
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all marksandspencer.com
fashion
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace