Ex-PNE and Scotland boss expects victory
Former Preston North End and Scotland boss Craig Brown turned up the heat on England ahead of the old rivals' World Cup qualifier at Hampden this evening.
Brown – who managed the national side between 1993 and 2001 – believes the hosts can cause an upset against Gareth Southgate’s Group D leaders.
England sit top of the table after five games – four of them wins – after Southgate took over from Sam Allardyce, axed after just one qualifier, an injury-time win against Slovakia.
Allardyce had succeeded Roy Hodgson, who stepped down after a dismal Euro 2016 campaign.
But the ex-Bolton boss lost his dream job after a national newspaper sting led to allegations of malpractice against him, and Allardyce left by mutual consent.
Now Brown, who managed North End from 2002 to 2004, sees no reason for Gordon Strachan’s side to fear England.
In fact, replacing Allardyce with the unproven Southgate (right) has done the Scots a favour says Brown. “I am an eternal optimist and I feel Scotland can win against England at Hampden Park,” said the 76-year-old.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to Gareth Southgate but I think Gordon Strachan has far more nous and managerial ability.
“Gordon also has far more experience than Southgate at a high level.
“I think we would have had a far harder game if Hodgson was still the England manager. England were 10 games unbeaten before Iceland knocked them out of Euro 2016. That one game cost Roy his job.
“But if Roy was still England manager I think our task would be more difficult.
“Roy is a more astute tactician and he would handle a Scotland-England game at Hampden pretty well.
“England are not as good as they are cranked up to be or would like to be.
“I’ve seen them play under Southgate and they have not been as comfortable as you would expect an England team to be.
“So with the Hampden crowd behind us, which is a huge factor, I don’t see any reason why Scotland can’t get a win that would throw the group wide open.”
Brown was the last Scotland manager to oversee a win over England, at Wembley in 1999, in a play-off to reach the Euro 2000 finals.
“We beat England at Wembley but of course it was bittersweet because we lost 2-1 on aggregate,” added Brown.
Scotland’s qualifying hopes will be all but over if they lose today, and Brown will be at Hampden Park as a guest of the Scottish FA.