Rooney calm as England prepare to step into the Glasgow cauldron

Wayne Rooney is sure England will be able to keep their cool amid the white-hot atmosphere of Celtic Park tonight.

INTO BATTLE: Wayne Rooney, left, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain step out on to the pitch at Celtic Park ahead of tonights eagerly-awaited encounter with Scotland.

The atmosphere inside Wembley when England beat Slovenia 3-1 In their Euro 2016 qualifier on Saturday was funereal but 55,000 Scots will be determined to make Rooney and the rest of his team-mates feel unwelcome.

Rooney considers himself to be something of a Celtic fan.

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He has watched from the stands at Celtic Park after being given tickets by his old team-mate Alan Stubbs.

Rooney even stood in the away end at Ibrox a few years ago, cheering Celtic on during an Old Firm clash.

He does not think, however, that his ‘allegiance’ will save him from an ear-splitting Glaswegian welcome tonight.

“With the history between England and Scotland, it will be an intimidating atmosphere,” the England captain said.

“The atmosphere when you walk out is incredible and you know every tackle, every challenge, the fans are going to get behind the Scotland team.

“We have to be ready for that as a team and I am sure that we will be.”

Roy Hodgson sat next to Rooney during yesterday’s press conference at the top of Celtic Way, just a few yards from statues of club greats including former manager Jock Stein.

Hodgson concurred with his captain’s view that his players must keep a cool head.

“The fans here give Celtic and Scotland incredible support. We will have to deal with that and not let it affect us mentally,” added Hodgson.

“Our younger players might not have had that experience. It will be hard-fought and competitive.”

It is likely to be a few years before anyone in the current squad joins the 100-cap club as Rooney did on Saturday.

Hodgson’s squad is an inexperienced one and that is why Rooney has taken it upon himself to warn the young players in the party what to expect.

“Everyone knows this stadium, the fans here have a great reputation of making it an intimidating place to come,” said Rooney, who has drawn and lost on his two visits to Celtic Park with Manchester United.

“It was when I first came out here to play, so I wanted to pass on my experience.”

England have enjoyed some memorable encounters against Scotland during their 111 meetings – the first of which came in 1872.

Rooney recalled watching Paul Gascoigne stroke the ball past Andy Goram after embarrassing Colin Hendry in Euro 96 as his abiding memory of the famous fixture.

Hodgson is old enough to remember England’s lowest point –when Scotland came to Wembley in 1967 and beat the hosts 3-2 on the same pitch where they had held the World Cup aloft just a year earlier.

“That was painful,” admitted Hodgson.

The last time the Three Lions ventured north of Hadrian’s Wall 15 years ago, referee Manuel Diaz Vega dished out five yellow cards per team. Hendry entered the Spanish official’s book within five minutes of kick-off.

Rooney is confident his players will not give Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson, who was criticised by Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini after they lost to Barcelona last year, an excuse to wield his cards.

Rooney said: “We have to play the game within the rules. I don’t think it’ll be like the games 20 years ago.”

England goalkeeper Ben Foster said it looked like Scotland and the Republic of Ireland were “kicking lumps out of each other” in the 1-0 home win in east Glasgow on Friday.

But Hodgson expects a clean fight between the two teams tonight, despite the intense rivalry between them.

Hodgson said: “I don’t think it will be unnecessarily competitive.”

The boss claimed the bragging rights for England last August when Rickie Lambert came off the bench to score the winner in the 3-2 win at Wembley.

The England manager was asked, somewhat mischievously, whether the Scotland job had ever been on his “horizon”.

But the much-travelled coach played down the idea that he was interested in succeeding Craig Brown in 2002, as has been rumoured.

“It might have been if they’d have offered it to me,” Hodgson said with a cackle.

“I’ve tried in the past to play down those so called linkages, unless a situation has arisen when I’ve been sitting down being interviewed or offered the job.

“I’m sure you have the information, and it was correct – but I can’t remember too much about it.”

Hodgson refused to reveal his team on the eve of the match, but declared that all 22 players were fit.

Fraser Forster could start in goal at his old Celtic stomping ground as Joe Hart has been released to Manchester City.