CALLUM McGregor tonight confessed he would rather help Scotland record a famous win over England than see them qualify for the Euro 2024 finals as a consequence of Norway drawing with Georgia as he prepared to take part in the 150th Anniversary Heritage Match.

The national team, who are 12 points clear at the top of Group A after winning all five of their fixtures, will secure a place at Germany next summer if their section rivals cancel each other out in Oslo tomorrow evening.

However, Celtic captain McGregor, who is set to start for Steve Clarke’s side in their encounter with Gareth Southgate’s team, is only interested in being part of a triumph over the Auld Enemy in front of a sell-out 50,000-strong crowd.

The midfielder, who will make his 55th appearance for his country tonight and join Scott Brown, Denis Law and Maurice Malpas in the top 20 of their most-capped international players, would like to secure a Euro 2024 spot with a result against Spain in Seville next month.

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Asked if he would prefer Scotland to beat England or qualify for the Euro 2024 finals, he said: “That’s an easy one – us beating England. Because then we can just win the next  game and we will qualify anyway.

“It doesn’t really matter when you qualify, you have got to get enough points. If that happens tomorrow night then great. But I would much rather win the game that I am playing in, especially when it is such a big fixture. We then have to three more games to qualify after that and we will deal with that when it comes.”

McGregor added: “It is a historic game which means everything to the supporters and everything to the country. It is right up there in my book. We will be doing everything we possibly can to have a positive night and so that everyone remembers it in a good light.

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“Every time these games, these big games, come around you want to win them, you don’t want to have any regret. You don’t want to go home after the game and feel you could have done more. You don’t want a ‘what if?’ scenario.

“That is the way I have always tried to approach my career. I try to limit the number of times I come off the pitch and think, ‘I should have done more’. You try to maximise the good feeling. Tomorrow night that is everybody’s job – to try and do as much as we can to make it a good night for us.

“It’s a great opportunity. You talk about the 150th anniversary. There has probably not been too many times over that history that they have really played each other less. The wins have been harder to come by. What a brilliant opportunity for us to try and change that and try and put our stamp on what has been a great fixture.”

McGregor conceded the Scotland v England fixture – which was first played in 1872 and is the oldest in international football – probably does not mean as much to him as it does to the older generation because it was not played on an annual basis when he was growing up. However, he stressed that victory tonight is a massive deal to his father.

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“My dad never shuts up talking about the Scotland v England game,” he said. “I have heard enough about it in the weeks leading up  to this game. I think he was probably at the game where they were swinging from the crossbar (at Wembley in 1977)! I am sure he will be excited tomorrow night.

“But for us as players, it is a big game, and we understand what it means to the supporters of course. When it comes to these sort of derby games, you are playing for the supporters. Of course, you are playing for yourself and everything that goes with that.

“But ultimately you are out there representing the country and representing every Scotland fan that would love to be on the pitch and do anything to get on the pitch. You have to have that in mind as well.”

McGregor revealed that Leigh Griffiths had regularly mentioned the two free kicks which he scored for Scotland in their last match against England at Hampden in a Russia 2018 qualifier back in 2017 to Joe Hart when the goalkeeper joined Celtic last year. 

“The minute Griff seen him, that was it,” he said. “From day one. Obviously, it was all a bit of a joke and there was banter thrown Joe’s way. Joe’s still adamant it was too far in the corner for him, so we’ll let him off with that one.”

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