SCOTLAND: Goram, McKimmie (Burley 85), Boyd, Calderwood, Hendry, Gallacher (B. McKinlay 56), McCall, McAllister, Collins, Booth (Spencer 45), Durie. Other Subs: Leighton, Walker, T. McKinlay, Whyte, Jess, Gemmill, Jackson, McCoist. Booked: Boyd, Gallacher.
HOLLAND: van der Sar, Reiziger, de Kock, Bogarde, Davids, de Boer (Winter 68), Seedorf, Witschge (Cocu 78), Taument (Kluivert 63), Bergkamp, Cruyff. Other Subs: de Goey, Hesp, Stam, Veldman, Numan, Hoekstra, Mulder. Booked: Witschge, Taument.
Referee: Leif Sundell (Sweden).
ENGLAND be warned: Scotland have not come south simply to make up the noise and the numbers. With a performance containing all the intelligence and stamina Gascoigne and Co lacked in Group A's opening game, Craig Brown's deft dervishes restrained Holland in a delightful encounter at Villa Park yesterday, so infusing Saturday's Auld Enemy derby with even greater significance. The Tartan Army continued south last night in good heart.
The Group A equation looks increasingly uncomfortable for England. The England camp had hopes for a convincing Dutch win, so reducing the threat from the North.
Now, the pressure is on for Terry Venables's men to win at Wembley, a thoroughly awkward proposition. A draw could mean England having to overcome Holland, Euro 96's second favourites, to progress to the quarter-finals.
The Scots, so often embarrassed by the Dutch since Archie Gemmill's glorious goal of '78, were well worth their point, defending stoically and moving forward with nous, not nerves, suffusing their attacks. The Scots offered passion and precision, qualities much needed as the Dutch began impressively.
Depleted yet still dynamic, Holland varied the pace and angle of their attacks. Edgar Davids anchored the midfield while Clarence Seedorf and Ronald De Boer formed the deep-lying attacking fulcrum, often teasing the ball wide to Jordi Cruyff and Gaston Taument. What a joy it was to witness two wingers in action, both prepared to take on defenders for speed and skill. Fortunately for Brown, his feisty full-backs, Tommy Boyd and Stewart McKimmie, responded solidly.
Collins was outstanding. Studious and always positive in possession he was prepared to tackle back down the left, never afraid to risk physical harm in seeking the ball amid flying feet.
When one avenue closed, Holland simply caressed the ball through the middle. Scotland's worst nightmares, frightening echoes of recent tribulations, appeared ripe for early fulfilment. Holland were rampant, the Scots submerged under a sea of orange.
Seedorf was denied by Andy Goram, Taument shot over over and then, with only seven absorbing minutes of one-way traffic having passed, Holland appealed for a penalty when John Collins appeared to handle on the line.
Scotland weathered this storm rolling in from the Low Countries. The two Colins, Hendry and Calderwood, provided firm breakwaters against which the Dutch waves crashed. Gradually, buoyed by those eternal optimists who form the Tartan Army, the defiant Scots began to piece their own moves together.
Collins was first to acquire a lengthy acquaintance with the ball. The Dutch had no monopoly on individual mastery. Collins was outstanding. Studious and always positive in possession he was prepared to tackle back down the left, never afraid to risk physical harm in seeking the ball amid flying feet. His home town of Galashiels, that Borders rugby stronghold, will have admired his bravery.
Soon, Collins was seriously examining Holland's status as second favourites. Cleverly using Gordon Durie as a decoy, Collins shot, forcing Edwin Van Der Sar into a hurried and highly inelegant clearance. Collins's contribution was matched only by De Boer's. Holland's captain kept passing and dribbling, beating players with that lovely combination of sudden acceleration and mesmeric control. He even nutmegged Collins, who, full of indignation, impeded him. Richard Witschge swung his free kick too close to Goram.
The match was so close. So were the fans. Pockets of orange sprouted from blue corners, all present happy to sit and sing and share in a great occasion.
Holland always hinted at, but never delivered, something special. Dennis Bergkamp, pushed forward until Patrick Kluivert arrived, should have scored, following David's clever through pass. The ball bounced up invitingly, almost pleading to be lobbed over Goram, but Bergkamp elected to take it round the goalkeeper. Too wide, too late, the window of opportunity was slammed shut by Hendry and Calderwood.
The Scots refused to lie down. De Boer felled Collins, so allowing Gary McAllister to curl a free kick which Van Der Sar did well to repel. Back came Holland, the rapier following the broadsword, with Bergkamp again thwarted by Goram.
The match was so close. So were the fans. Pockets of orange sprouted from blue corners, all present happy to sit and sing and share in a great occasion. Not even coffee at £1.40 a beaker could dampen the party mood. Dutchmen wore kilts, Scots wore orange Bobby helmets; the mood was captured perfectly when a Dutch jazz band serenaded the Tartan Army at half-time.
The rhythm was less with the blues after the break. De Boer released Taument down the right and his floated cross should have been headed in, rather than down and over, by Seedorf.
Holland kept probing. Bergkamp headed over, Seedorf had a shot blocked by Hendry, who then cleared from Aron Winter. These were desperate moments for Scotland. Fittingly, Collins had the final word, ending two Dutch moves with interceptions. Gascoigne versus Collins; Saturday promises to be an epic.