Tonight, next to no one will stand still as those sheep shearing, leek wielding Welshmen traipse across England’s green and pleasant pastures and into the land of Tennents Super.
In some sort of Jeremy Kyle style “Battle of Britain”, Gareth Bale and ten rugby players who never made the grade will try to attempt to beat eleven Scottish footballers who never made the grade, for the honour of getting slightly closer to not very nearly qualifying for a World Cup.
This really is the footballing equivalent of two bald men fighting over a comb.
When these two met in October, a Bale brace separated the sides in a game which – less surprisingly – also involved a ball, grass and a set of goalposts at either end. Since retiring from supergrass to take up football for a living, Bale has been in exceptional form this season, scoring 25 goals for club and country and torching numerous full-backs.
Bale is a just 7/5 to find the net again at Hampden Park this evening, and is a massive 5/1 to open things up. He’s also 15/2 to repeat his trick and score two or more, so Wee Gordan Strachan and his Tartan Alchies could do with some handy hints and tips if they are going to avoid the same fate again.
Aside from deep-frying Bale’s Lucozade, there are a few ways the Scots can stop the Welsh Wonder, one of which would be to relocate Hadrian’s Wall across their goalmouth. Here are a couple more:
Try to win the game: Craig Levein seemed to think that his ingenious 4-6-0 formation was the way to get to Brazil, and he’s been rewarded for that negativity by joining the other 4 million Scots on the dole queue.
Levein’s lack of ambition saw Scotland bravely bore the backside off the mighty Macedonia at home and if Strachan employs similar tactics against Wales tonight, Bale will see enough ball to adequately influence proceedings.
Neither of these two are going to qualify, so they might as well have a good old ding-dong and see who comes off least worse. Despite standing at just 3ft 7″, Strachan is more adventurous than his predecessor and will be more inclined to give it a go.
Bale apart, Wales are nothing to fear and if the Scots get at Chris Coleman’s side, then they are good enough to get the points and render anything Bales does do redundant.
Press Quickly: Last weekend Fulham did a number on Bale FC at White Hart Lane and central to the win was the way they got stuck into Bale from the moment he picked up possession.
Too many sides back off in fear and give him time to accelerate and weigh up options, and he’s often demonstrated that that can be a fatal mistake.
Fulham pressed high and hard and made Bale do most of his work with his back to goal, thus negating the prospect of him turning, running and causing danger.
Few players would relish an agricultural Scottish defender right up your ‘arris, so nullifying Bale before he can do any damage seems a straightforward solution to me.
Boot Him: This is a concept Charlie Adam picked up on a couple of years ago and no doubt the Stoke substitute will have imparted his wisdom on the rest of his countrymen.
Now I’m not usually one for advocating violence, but considering it’s Scotland I may as well. Bale has got an iffy right ankle following an awkward twist a few weeks back and it’s not going to get any better once Barry Bannan introduces his studs to it.
I think fair play and sportsmanship are overrated anyway, and considering I am drastically struggling for other alternatives of how a rabble of Celts can halt Europe’s most in-form player, I’d go back to basics and launch him early doors to shut him up.
Aside from that, I’m stumped.
Anyway, Bale at 5/1 for first scorer seems to value to me, and will certainly be worth a couple of quid.
That’s all folks.
For more utter cobblers, follow me on Twitter @bainesyDiego10