Auld enemy memories for ex-PNE boss

Former Scotland and Preston North End manager Craig Brown reckons that extreme determination among his squad was the key to beating England 17 years ago.
Former PNE and Scotland manager Craig BrownFormer PNE and Scotland manager Craig Brown
Former PNE and Scotland manager Craig Brown

With the two arch rivals set to square up at Wembley in a vital World Cup qualifier on Friday night, Brown remains the last Scotland manager to lead our team to victory over the Auld Enemy, a 1-0 Wembley triumph back in 1999.

Although Don Hutchison’s header won the match that night, it was ultimately another glorious failure for the Scots as they’d lost the opening leg of this Euro 2000 qualifying play-off 2-0 at Hampden Park and so were defeated 2-1 on aggregate.

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“You have to have a bit of good fortune to beat England but the one thing that was very important for that second leg was the morale in the team, the atmosphere,” Brown said.

“We had lost two nothing on the Saturday before we played and we were getting slaughtered (in the press) so the lads were really determined.

“You can imagine the media reaction to a home defeat against England, although I felt we were unfortunate in that home game.

“So there was a real determination about the group and a great feeling that we had the opportunity to redeem ourselves.

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“And we certainly went down there with great attitude and to add to that we had very good players.

“We managed to get a result and I’m hoping that Gordon Strachan (current Scotland gaffer) will be able to do the same this Friday.”

Brown quit as Scotland boss in 2001 after eight years at the helm, following the failure to qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

But the 76-year-old remains the last man to lead this country to a major finals, when we reached the World Cup in France 18 long years ago.

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Brown said: “I’m astonished that we haven’t qualified for a tournament since 1998.

“I was quite embarrassed and ashamed that we didn’t qualify after losing the play-off to England.

“I resigned then and if I’d thought that I’d have been forgiven for not qualifying I might not have resigned.

“But I think I did the right thing because it was eight years and the press were fed up with me. The players needed a change of voice.”

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Brown’s first job back in football about leaving his post with Scotland, was at Deepdale.

He was named North End manager in May 2002, succeeding David Moyes who had left for Everton three months earlier.

Browne remained the job until August 2004 when he was sacked.