England manager Southgate 'supported Scotland' at 1978 World Cup

The England manager was backing Scotland at the World Cup in Argentina.

England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted that he was briefly a Scotland supporter when the 1978 World Cup took place in Argentina.

The ex-international, who led his side to the Euro 2020 final two years ago, was looking back on his memories of the oldest international fixture in football ahead of the 150th anniversary match at Hampden.

And the former defender, who will take his star-studded side to Glasgow to take on in-form Scotland at the national stadium on Tuesday, revealed he was part of the Tartan Army as a young kid when England failed to qualify.

His earliest memory of the fixture was a year earlier when the Scotland fans famously took to the Wembley pitch and brought some memorabilia back across the border when they returned home.

A year later however, he was backing Ally McLeod’s side in South America, who were among the pre-tournament favourites, as they drew with Iran and fell to a defeat against Peru before saving face with a 3-2 victory over eventual finalists the Netherlands.

Speaking to the press on Monday, Southgate said: “My first memory is the Scottish fans nicking the goal posts at Wembley, so I go back to 1977. When I was growing up it was only ever the FA Cup final and the home internationals that were live on tele so that was all you got to see really.

“This is horrendous ahead of tomorrow with what I am going to say here, but I was supporting Scotland in 1978 because we hadn’t qualified.

“So I kind of followed that through the trauma of Iran, Peru and the Netherlands, we were back in the World Cup in 1982 and from then onwards it was all about England for me.

“But yeah, great fixtures, and I’ve met so many of the former players over the years, worked with some of them, played with some of them, so it’s a fabulous game.

“I know there’s a rivalry and I know people will be wary of it crossing the boundary, but it’s a brilliant sporting rivalry and a great game to be involved.”

Tuesday’s clash will be the 116th meeting between the countries since that first ever game that ended in a 0-0 draw at the West of Scotland cricket club in 1872.

The last two meetings have also ended in draws with the latest another 0-0 played at Wembley in the group stages of Euro 2020.

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