The Wembley bus, packed with supporters, always left from opposite the window of the room I was born in. In the 40s and 50s it was a biennial ritual to hang out of the window and wave a saltire as it wound its way down Shettleston Road like a troop-carrier sending our loved ones to the front. It seemed we were about to test our national virility. I could never separate this from the politics that surrounded me then.

The people around me talked not just of Delaney, Waddell, Mason or Reilly but, just as easily, the men whom we sent to fight on another front, Maxton, Shinwell, Maclean, the Red Clydesiders who championed causes in Westminster in the 1930s in particular but whose memorable fights for social justice were echoed in conversations well into my teens. It was Us against Them, whether you were paying your money to go to Wembley or attending a voting booth.

They were creating a new society then but within it our distinct nationality had to be verified by dint of political verve and footballing prowess.

Read more: Souness candid as ever on Scotland's chances at Wembley: "We are a modest group. But England are a modest group as well."

The wondrous 3-1 victory for Scotland down there in 1949 just as the Labour government was fighting hard to cope with post-war austerity seemed like a massive filip justifying who we were, and what we believed in. However, I have watched our relationship with the fixture change through the decades, as irrevocably as of Arctic ice melting in the clutches of global warming.

Firstly, there was the sense that a new kind of supporter had emerged in the 70s and 80s who bore as much resemblance to the tartan-tammied exports we sent south in earlier years as a thistle does to the English rose.

My recollection was of largely family-oriented men paying up through the years for their trip and in the main balancing passion and identity with a sense of decorum, even in defeat, which did little harm to our image. In and around that period I’ve referred to, a younger, more clamorous element had emerged and needed no encouragement from manager Ally Macleod who in the pre-match press-conference of the Wembley game in 1977, stated with stark clarity, ‘I don’t dislike the English. I hate their guts.’

Read more: Souness candid as ever on Scotland's chances at Wembley: "We are a modest group. But England are a modest group as well."

So, apparently, did others, as we were witnesses, afterwards, to Soho and Piccadilly being trashed, cars upturned, people insulted, and train-carriages wrecked. The anti-English fury released on the streets was chilling. The fact that we interpreted the breaking of the cross-bars and posts and the ripping of Wembley turf in the aftermath of that game as some jocular celebration of a harmless nature, did not prevent Ernie Walker, chief executive of the SFA, and as big a Scotland punter as any, openly admitting that the scenes in London as a whole were sufficient for him to recommend terminating this regular fixture to prevent any further besmirching of our culture, and it eventually was.

The hubris of Argentina in 1978 came fast on its heels and again we could see an even more complicated relationship with the national side when politicians viewed the World Cup as fertile ground for leverage of sorts. Donald Dewar the newly elected MP for Garscadden was heard to say on the eve of the Scotland-Peru game,’ We can afford to win in Argentina now the SNP is on the run.’ This on the back of SNP’s Margo Macdonald having been beaten in a by-election in Hamilton and worried as he clearly was about the public associating any possible success in South America to a vindication of nationalism. You can now see we had entered an era of ambivalence. What did our national game really mean to us and what were Scotland jersey’s truly representing?

After all, a year later, the nation was divided in the devolution referendum, a third for, a third against and a third abstaining. All that leading to Jim Sillars’ nationalist lament in admitting that the outcome in Argentina ‘. . . had transmitted itself to the political field. It was a case of ‘Here we go again’. Are we ever going to be able to do anything ourselves?’

We could. For four years later in Seville the Tartan Army was born. You could almost call it spontaneous combustion. Because the very best of Scottish nature erupted in mass partying with the Brazilian supporters before and after the game that was like a therapeutic exercise for those whose reputation had been tarnished by a previous generation.

Read more: Souness candid as ever on Scotland's chances at Wembley: "We are a modest group. But England are a modest group as well."

After what I had witnessed in London years before it almost brought tears to my eyes in gratitude. There has, thankfully, been a lasting legacy from that night. So there need be little fear of recreating the bad old days.

I have seen so many changes in the quality of our international team through the years and the growing affection for club football amongst supporters increasingly grouchy about missing their regular domestic games during international weeks that although there will be many still passionate in their support for this fixture I doubt if it carries the same allure it used to, even for grasping politicians. I see it more as up for display like an antique in the television show Flog It, waiting for an evaluation that, for us, might not even reach its reserve price.