Scotland vs England: Gordon Strachan's team on the crest of a wave

Scotland go from one derby to another

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On Friday it was the Republic of Ireland; on Tuesday England will face a side energised by much more than local or national rivalry.

There’s a new life and excitement surrounding Gordon Strachan’s team, seen in both the manner of Shaun Maloney’s brilliant goal against Ireland and the raucous celebration. That divine curling strike gave Scotland a 1-0 win to ensure they are one of four sides on seven points in their Euro 2016 qualification group.

The difference is they are a team on the up, but still able to control their emotions to thereby control a game. That belief, mixed with a real sense of business, could be seen in defender Grant Hanley’s mood following the win over Ireland.

Looking ahead to facing England at Celtic Park, the Blackburn centre-half said: “It’s a case of getting the job done. It’s only a friendly but a lot of pride is at stake.”

For all the history between England and Scotland, it’s difficult to imagine the game will be anywhere near as hyperactive as that against Ireland. But most encouraging for Scotland was the way in which they still had the presence of mind to put their foot on the ball and show some sophistication .

“That’s probably as physical as international football gets,” said Hanley. “It was hard for us to get our foot on the game, but the lads definitely stood up to the challenge. That was the mentality: just concentrate on playing well, control what we can control and results will follow.”

Hanley expects similar on Tuesday. “Hopefully we’re up to the task,” he added.

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