Police Ready For 'Friendly' Match

Scotland will play England north of the border for the first time in 15 years today, with a heightened police presence around the match.

Around 5,000 England supporters are due to attend the friendly game at Celtic Park in Glasgow, which will be the latest instalment in the oldest fixture in international football.

The last time the teams met in Scotland there were more than 200 arrests and police said they are monitoring "known troublemakers'' from both countries who they believe are planning to travel to today's game.

Extra patrols are to be carried out in Glasgow city centre and at transport hubs to prevent potential trouble.

England defeated Scotland 2-0 at Hampden Park in the last match played between the sides in Glasgow in 1999. After almost 14 years, the rivalry was re-established last year when England won 3-2 in a friendly at Wembley.

The majority of fans will want to have a good time and enjoy the latest match, Chief Superintendent Andy Bates said.

"We're aware, by looking at intelligence and working closely with colleagues across Scotland and England, of who these people are.

"We're talking about a small minority of people who are intent on causing bother. The vast majority coming to this game will be here to have a good time and watch a good game of football.

"It is our job to ensure that supporters get to the game safely and that there is minimum disruption to those who live, work and socialise in the city centre and in and around the stadium.

"The overwhelming majority of people come along to enjoy the match and the terrific atmosphere at these games. However, there is a small number of people who may come to the city with the sole intent of causing disorder.

"Scotland has played host to a number of high profile international events this year and has been praised for the welcome it gives visitors. I will not allow our reputation to be marred by a minority who use football as a cover to cause disorder and disruption.''

Officers also warned English fans about the law in Scotland which makes it an offence to drink alcohol in public or on a coach, minibus or train travelling to the game.

All fans have been urged to arrive early for the 8pm kick-off to avoid a repeat of turnstile problems which resulted in delays for some fans at Scotland's match against the Republic of Ireland on Friday.

There will also be a minute's applause before kick-off in tribute to Scotland fan Nathan McSeveney who died after falling in a stairwell at Celtic Park during Friday's match.

Speaking yesterday, Scotland manager Gordon Strachan said: ''I would like to send my condolences to Nathan's family.

''It took our breath away when we got the news on the bus. The SFA (Scottish Football Association) will do as much as they can do to help them through this difficult period.''

A Unicef appeal to help Ebola victims is to be broadcast before the match and at half-time, with the Government pledging to match donations made during the game up to #5 million.

Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher said: "Scotland v England is always an important match, but for once the game is about far more than just football.

"On Tuesday night I urge all our fans to transfer their passion for the Scottish football team into helping these children so we can really make a difference to their lives.''

England captain Wayne Rooney and other players will also urge fans to donate in the video.

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