Scotland vs England: police on alert as Rooney warns players
Fears of crowd trouble in Glasgow as England prepare to face Scotland at Celtic Park
Police in Scotland are bracing themselves for trouble today as thousands of England fans head north for tonight's friendly at Celtic Park.
The last time Scotland hosted a match between the two old rivals, in 1999, more than 200 supporters were arrested for disorder, and police intelligence indicates there could be a repeat of trouble this evening.
"We have a certain amount of intelligence that there will be some known troublemakers travelling to this game but we have an operation to deal with it," explained Chief Superintendent Andy Bates of Police Scotland . "We are on top of it. I have an intelligence-led operation that will engage with these people and prevent any disorder taking place."
According to Bates, the potential troublemakers are both Scottish and English and intent on disorder. "We have intelligence about people from all over the UK travelling to this game," he warned.
Sky Sports reports that around 5,000 England fans have bought tickets through official channels, and will be seated in allocated areas, but that the flashpoints could occur where England fans have tickets among home supporters.
"Police say that there shouldn't be alarm bells ringing but they do concede that they do have concerns that tickets designated for Scotland supporters will be in the hands of England fans at Celtic Park," explains the broadcaster.
England's players are expecting a hostile reception when they run out onto the pitch tonight, although Roy Hodgson was at pains to downplay media efforts to stoke the fires ahead of tonight's friendly that is expected to draw a crowd of some 60,000.
Asked at a press conference if there could ever be such a thing as a 'friendly' between the two nations, the England manager replied: "Why not? I don't really know why not. The game at Wembley last year was fantastic for us, we had to pull out all the stops. For me that's the type of friendly you want."
And Hodgson also dismissed suggestions that the Scots will come out with the aim of kicking England off the park. "I don't expect it to be especially physical," he said. "It will be hard fought I'm sure, competitive. I'm sure each challenge will be competed for but Scotland aren't that type of team and set their stall out to play football like we do."
Hodgson is expected to field a fairly experienced side though he could hand starts to young West Brom striker Saido Berahino and Everton midfielder Ross Barkley. Wayne Rooney will lead the side on his 101st appearance for the Three Lions and the Manchester United striker – who has played at Celtic Park in the Champions League - had this warning for his teammates: "It will be loud and intense. I've spoken to the players to make sure they're ready because if you're not, it can take you by surprise."