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Monday 23 October 2017

England scalp is all I want - says Mulgrew

Defender wants to end Scotland's 18-year drought with victory in Hampden qualifier

Scotland defender Charlie Mulgrew. Photo: PA
Scotland defender Charlie Mulgrew. Photo: PA

Scotland defender Charlie Mulgrew admits victory over England would mean the world to him.

Gordon Strachan's side could give their World Cup qualifying campaign a shot in the arm when they face the Group F leaders at Hampden.

Mulgrew missed the Wembley defeat in November after injury problems but returned to the team for the victory over Slovenia in March and looks set to start in central defence tomorrow.

And the Blackburn player is desperate to be in the first Scotland side to beat the Auld Enemy since Don Hutchison's Wembley winner in 1999.

"It would mean everything to me," the 31-year-old said. "It's something I grew up thinking about, playing these types of games, and I'm sure everyone in the squad has as well.

Scotland players during the training session at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Photo: PA
Scotland players during the training session at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Photo: PA

"It's massive. There's a lot of excitement in the camp. Everyone has grown up watching these games and these are the ones you want to be involved in.

"I remember Don Hutchison scored at Wembley, I remember Euro 96 as well when Gazza scored that goal and did the celebration.

"Watching those games as youngster, your aim is to be involved in them. You probably never think it's going to happen but I'm delighted to be here and get a chance of being involved hopefully.

"To top it off with a victory would be brilliant but we are not thinking too ahead of ourselves. It's a huge challenge ahead, England are a great team and we will be massive underdogs.

"They are a top side, every one of their players is world class so it's going to be difficult for us, but we are up for it and we will be ready for it when the game comes."

Mulgrew insists Scotland have the right to be confident. "Everybody is in the Scotland squad because they have confidence in their ability," the former Wolves, Aberdeen and Celtic player said.

England manager Gareth Southgate. Photo: PA
England manager Gareth Southgate. Photo: PA

"That shows in training, the standard is very high and the tempo is high, and everyone is buzzing for the game. It's going to be a difficult game but it's one we look forward to and one as a player you want to be involved in."

Mulgrew's club future appears uncertain after Blackburn were relegated from the Sky Bet Championship and he is not thinking about getting one up on his Ewood Park team-mates.

"I have always loved playing for Scotland, it's great to come away, I have always looked forward to coming away and I have always done everything I can to be fit and ready to play for Scotland," he said.

"The fact that it's England and I play in England now probably adds a wee bit to it but it's the first I've thought about it, I just want to do my best for Scotland."

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