England at Wembley is the ideal fixture for Scotland after last month’s 3-0 defeat in Slovakia. James Forrest, the Celtic winger, admits playing the Auld Enemy is exactly the match Gordon Strachan and his players wanted.
“After a disappointing result, you want to get back on it as soon as you can, and there’s no better game to do that than against England,” he said. “We have a lot of players in the squad that play in England who will know all about it. We are aware England are a good side with a lot of top players. It’s a tough game but one we are looking forward to.
“Everyone wants to try and qualify. We were disappointed in the last game but we need to look forward to get a positive result in the England game.”
Forrest was in the starting line-up when Scotland last played at Wembley – a 3-2 defeat two years ago. “I thought we did well. We were 2-1 up at one point,” he recalled.
“Obviously, it was a friendly but it’s never really a friendly when you play England. On the day, we were gutted we lost but we can take confidence from that performance going into Friday.
“It was massive. In front of a sell-out at Wembley, that’s what you want. You want to play in the big games and they don’t get much bigger than England against Scotland.
“You do pinch yourself. Every time you play for Scotland, you need to cherish it. You want to keep working hard and play as much as you can. In the game on Friday, whoever plays will be raring to go.”
The intensity of a World Cup qualifier against England in London means strong hearts and minds will be vital. Scotland cannot afford to lose given their poor start to the qualifying group. They know they can expect a typical British game.
“There is still a belief there. I think with the way the group has gone there’s been some results you wouldn’t expect to happen,” said Forrest.
“We know if we get a positive result it will keep it going. That’s what we want to take from Friday’s game. I’ve been there [Wembley] before and you can say that will help. But you could also say form goes out the window. Both teams know what to expect and it will be a tough game.”