Scotland-England game still 'big', says Steven Whittaker

Scotland defender Steven Whittaker
Steven Whittaker played at right-back in place of the injured Alan Hutton against Republic of Ireland
International friendly: Scotland v England
Venue: Celtic Park Date: Tuesday, 18 November Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Steven Whittaker has dismissed the idea that Tuesday's friendly against England has been overshadowed by Scotland's match against Republic of Ireland.

The 1-0 win over the Irish made sure that the Scots remain in the pack chasing top spot in Euro 2016 qualifying Group D.

"A lot of the attention was on this," Scotland full-back Whittaker said.

"But now I'm sure the build-up to the England game will be just as big and it is a game we're looking forward to."

Scotland midfielder Charlie Mulgrew
"There's never a friendly between Scotland and England and we're looking forward to that."

Tuesday's game at Celtic Park was arranged following the success of the match at Wembley in August 2013, when England triumphed 3-2 as the world's oldest international fixture was played for the first time in 14 years.

The latest instalment in Glasgow will be played following encouraging Euro 2016 qualifying victories for both teams.

Scotland defeated Republic of Ireland 1-0 at Celtic Park on Friday to draw level on points with the visitors and Germany as they chase Group D leaders Poland.

The following day, England came from behind to overcome Slovenia 3-1 at Wembley to move six points clear of their visitors at the top of Group E.

Whittaker thinks Scotland will go into Tuesday's game with plenty of confidence and put much of that down to the role of manager Gordon Strachan.

"We've created this enthusiasm and determination to get results," the Norwich City defender said.

"We're playing good football, so everything seems to be ticking the right boxes at the minute.

"But it all comes from the manager. His enthusiasm for the game is passed on to the players and we're obviously going out there and doing the tasks at the minute."

Scotland striker Chris Martin
Scotland striker Chris Martin hopes there will be less tension than there was against Republic of Ireland

"Recently, we've matched Germany, we've drawn in Poland and beaten Ireland - we are on the right track and we want another good result on Tuesday night.

"Hopefully, we can again play well and get a positive result."

Many in the media had built up Friday's match against the Irish as a must-win game for Scotland's qualification chances and it was played in a derby atmosphere.

Striker Chris Martin, who was a second-half substitute, thought it had contributed to the match being an edgy affair and hoped the Scots would be more free to play better football against England.

"The pressure's off a little bit in that game and hopefully we can go out and enjoy ourselves and give the fans something to shout about again," the Derby County forward said.

However, midfielder Charlie Mulgrew, voted man of the match against the Irish, thought there would still be pressure to beat England because of their traditional rivalry.

"I don't think it will be relaxed," the Celtic player said. "By the time it comes around, we will be looking to go again.

"It will be a huge game even though it is named a friendly.

"There's never a friendly between Scotland and England and we're looking forward to that."

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