England v Scotland: Burnley's role in the oldest rivalry in international football

It is the oldest international rivalry in football.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:30 pm
John Connelly

England and Scotland have been kicking lumps out of each other since March 1870, although the five games played between then and February 1872 are not recognised officially by FIFA.

The first international fixture, at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow - the West of Scotland Cricket Ground ended in a goalless draw, and, from that point on, until 1989 - bar World War 1 and 2, the teams met every Spring.

From 1884 to 1984, the meetings came in the Home Championship, with the Rous Cup then held for another five years.

Since 1989, the teams have only met at Euro 96, in the Euro 2000 play-offs, in friendlies in August 2013 and November 2014, and in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

England have 48 wins to Scotland's 41, with 24 draws, and England are unbeaten since the second leg of the 2000 Euro qualifiers, losing 1-0 at Wembley, having already won the first leg 2-0 at Hampden Park.

There may be no Burnley players on duty on Friday night, with Nick Pope cruelly ruled out of the tournament after having to undergo knee surgery, but there have been plenty of Clarets involved against the Auld Enemy down the years.

First up was defender Jimmy Crabtree, who claimed the last of three England caps while with Burnley in a 3-0 defeat in the Home Championship in April 1895, going on to claim another 11 caps with Aston Villa.

You have to wait another 17 years for the next Burnley player to face Scotland, the legendary forward Bert Freeman, whose appearance in the 1-1 draw at Hampden Park in the Home Championship in March 1912 was the last of his five caps, three won with the Clarets.

Billy Watson, of Burnley's famous halfback line, made his debut the year later, as the Three Lions won their Home Championship clash in April 1913 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, with a goal from Harry Hampton.

There was another Burnley player in action the year later, April 1914, as Eddie Mosscrop collected the second of his two caps in the 3-1 defeat at Hampden in the Home Championship.

After the War, Bob Kelly - Burnley's most-capped England player, with 11 - played in a remarkable game in the Home Championship in April 1920 at Hillsborough, which the Three Lions won 5-4, with two goals from Kelly, including a 73rd-minute winner.

Kelly played a year later in a 3-0 defeat at Hampden, and again in 1922 as Scotland won 1-0 at Villa Park - with Burnley team mate Jerry Dawson claiming the last of two caps in goal - in the Home Championship.

Kelly was on target in April 1923 as England drew 2-2 at Hampden, scoring the opener as the Three Lions led twice.

And he was on the losing side again in April 1925 at Hampden Park, in a 2-0 defeat.

Kelly would go on to claim three more caps, taking him up to 14, two with Sunderland, and one with Huddersfield Town, netting a consolation for England at Wembley in 1928 in a 5-1 defeat.

Kelly remains the last Burnley player to score for England against Scotland - Ray Pointer being the last to score for the Three Lions full stop, netting two in three caps, against Luxembourg and Portugal in World Cup qualifying in 1961.

Jack Hill lined up against Scotland in a 1-0 defeat in the Home Championship in April 1926 at Old Trafford, and the following year, he wore the captain's armband for the first time in a 2-1 win at Hampden Park, alongside fellow Claret Louis Page, as a Dixie Dean brace proved enough, the winner coming two minutes from time.

He would captain the side on eight occasions in total, five with Burnley and three with Newcastle United.

In April 1929, Jack Bruton won the last of his three caps in a 1-0 defeat at Hampden Park, Alec Cheyne netting in the last minute.

But there was a long wait before Burnley's next international against Scotland, with John Connelly, who would go on to help win the World Cup in 1966 as a Manchester United player, playing in a 1-1 draw at Hampden Park in April 1960, with future teammate Bobby Charlton scoring from the spot, before missing a late penalty, which Frank Haffey saved, before Charlton sent the retake wide after an offence of encroachment.

Remarkably, none of Burnley's Scotland internationals appeared against England, Jock Aird, Adam Blacklaw, Willie Morgan - who did play twice against the Three Lions in 1973 as a Manchester United player, Graham Alexander, Steven Caldwell, Steven Fletcher and Chris Iwelumo.