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Law: Scotland must rise to England challenge

Scots need to beat England for the first time since 1985 to revive World Cup qualifying hopes

Denis Law believes Scotland's players must give their all for the jersey and rise to the challenge of taking on England at Hampden Park on Sunday morning (Singapore time) if they are to rekindle hopes of qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

Gordon Strachan's men are currently fourth in Group F, but only two points behind second-placed Slovakia.

England, though, head to Glasgow on the back of four wins from their five matches, which included a 3-0 win over the Scots at Wembley last November. They have not lost a qualifier for any major tournament since 2009.

Law was part of the Scotland squad which reached the 1974 World Cup Finals, where the former Manchester United and City forward made the last of his 55 international appearances, having scored 30 goals which remains a record tally alongside Kenny Dalglish.

The 77-year-old, who is an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK, feels the current squad must rise to the occasion of taking on the Auld Enemy in front of the Tartan Army if they are to pull off a first victory over England since 1985.

"We just haven't got the number of players we used to have, there are a lot of foreign players now in the Scottish leagues. When you look in the old days, there was quite a lot of players down in England who played in what was then the First Division, at the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, United and City," Law told Press Association Sport.

"At the moment, we just haven't got that, there is not the amount of top players you would like to (have).

"There are still some very good players in the team, but unfortunately now Scotland just don't have the numbers to be a really top side, although I hope they can come back (to qualify)."

Law added: "They are playing for their country, which is the highest honour you can ever get in football, well I think so anyway.

I know the guys who get selected will put everything into it to get a result against England, so you never know. Denis Law

"I don't care what you win - even the World Cup - because to represent your country is a different thing all together.

"I know the guys who get selected will put everything into it to get a result against England, so you never know.

"Scotland have been given a tough group anyway, so for 2018, they have got to win (against England)."

Law scored the opening goal for Scotland in their memorable 1967 triumph over England at Wembley, beating the then world champions 3-2 with a team which included four members of the starting XI who would go on to help Celtic become the first British side to lift the European Cup.

While it may have been some 32 years since the last Scottish victory over England, Law maintains the rivalry burns just as strong in the current generation, who are trying to qualify for a first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.

"Of course it is - it is just like at Manchester City and Manchester United when we played, they were our rivals, but after the game, players go for a beer," Law said.

"It is the same for Scotland and England - in that 90 minutes, they are the enemy, but after the game, no matter who has won, you go and shake hands. That is the game of football and what people want to see." - PA SPORT

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