England '˜stood up to be counted', says Southgate

Englands Harry Kane, second left, celebrates scoring his dramatic late equaliser against Scotland (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA).Englands Harry Kane, second left, celebrates scoring his dramatic late equaliser against Scotland (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA).
Englands Harry Kane, second left, celebrates scoring his dramatic late equaliser against Scotland (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA).
England captain Harry Kane was proud of the way his side dug deep to avoid a chastening defeat to Scotland.

The 114th meeting of international football’s oldest rivals initially looked to be going the visitors’ way after substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hushed the Hampden roar.

But an unremarkable World Cup qualifier ended extraordinarily as Leigh Griffiths levelled with a wonderful late free-kick, before repeating the trick to put Gordon Strachan’s side on the brink of a famous victory.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet England rallied rather than wilted in stoppage time as Kane, wearing the captain’s armband for the first time, met a super cross from Raheem Sterling with an even better finish to grab a 2-2 draw.

“It was fantastic,” said Kane of the team’s character, which was praised by Three Lions chief Gareth Southgate.

“I think going 2-1 down in the manner that we did, a lot of heads could have dropped or people could have been sulking or so forth.

“But everyone stood up to it. They dug deep and found a goal out of nothing, really, so that’s what it’s about.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It is about standing up and being counted and we did that today.

“Obviously, I was wearing the armband but I think we’ve got a lot of leaders in the team.

“It was great for me personally to lead the team out, a very, very proud moment and to get that goal at the end made it even more special.

“I think being part of a leader is standing up when it matters and to get that goal at the end was important.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Kane’s strike saved England from their first qualifying defeat since October, 2009.

The draw means England’s cushion at the top of Group F has been narrowed to two points, but there remains confidence within the group that it is a matter of when rather than if they qualify for the World Cup.

“With Scotland scoring two goals late on and you look up at four minutes left, to get anything from the game was always a point gained,” added Kane, before attention turns to tomorrow’s season-ending friendly in France.

“We come away fairly happy with it and in a good position to qualify for the World Cup.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I don’t think it was tougher than what we expected because we always expect to have tough games, especially against your rivals.

“We knew it was going to be tough away from home in an international qualifier and with Scotland doing everything to stay in the World Cup.

“We knew it was going to be tough and credit to them for standing there and getting the two goals, but it was nice to not lose the game.”

Scotland hero Griffiths was left “gutted” despite scoring a brace of free-kicks for his first goals in the dark blue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Three Lions substitute Oxlade-Chamberlain looked to have set the visitors on course with a 70th-minute opener.

However, Hoops striker Griffiths, winning his 13th cap, sent most of Hampden Park wild when he curled in two wonderful set-pieces in the 87th and 90th minutes.

But with a famous victory on the cards, Kane levelled in stoppage time to deflate the Tartan Army and the Celtic forward.

Griffiths, clutching his man-of-the-match champagne, admitted his second goal “probably” gave him his best feeling in football but said: “I am gutted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I should be absolutely delighted with two goals and man-of-the-match, walking in here with three points. But one lapse of concentration has cost us in the end and instead of getting three points we got one.

“I don’t want to talk about being low. We have a great point against a very good England side who, no doubt, will be going to the World Cup.

“We still have a great chance.

“We have four games left and four very winnable games and as long as we take the performances from the last two games we will give ourselves a great chance.”

Graeme Souness believes the missed opportunity to beat the ‘Auld Enemy’ will “haunt Scottish people for decades”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We don’t beat England very much,” said the Scotland great. “That will haunt us for generations. Seriously, for decades that will haunt us.

“We were in that position – and there’s so much on this qualification – of 2-1 up with a minute to go so I am telling you that result will haunt Scottish people for decades.”

Scotland: Gordon, Berra, Mulgrew, Robertson, Tierney, Brown, Armstrong, Anya (Chris Martin 81), Snodgrass (Fraser 66), Griffiths, Morrison (McArthur 45). Unused substitutes: Marshall, Naismith, Bannan, Darren Fletcher, Forrest, Russell Martin, Cairney, Reynolds, Hamilton.

England: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Smalling, Bertrand, Rashford (Oxlade-Chamberlain 65), Lallana, Dier, Alli (Sterling 84), Livermore (Defoe 90), Kane. Unused substitutes: Forster, Trippier, Lingard, Gibson, Stones, Jones, Cresswell, Heaton, Butland.

Referee: P Tagliavento (Italy).