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FOOTBALL: BOYD WON'T BE BACK FOR BATTLE.

CELTIC skipper Tom Boyd has virtually written off his chances of being fit for Scotland's Euro 2000 play-off clashes with England.

The experienced defender has not played since Celtic's defeat by Dundee United in August because of a back injury and although he is getting stronger, he won't make the double header on November 13 and November 17.

He said: "I'm making good progress but there is no timescale and I don't expect to be playing until late next month. But I'll be there cheering the boys on."

Boyd admits he felt the Scots were fated to meet the Auld Enemy in the Aachen draw.

He said: "I think as soon as everyone started discussing the possibility, fate took over.

"I heard about it when one of the lads came out to training and announced it was Scotland v England - that certainly provoked a bit of uproar."

Boyd played in the fateful Euro '96 clash at Wembley and recalls that with any luck at all, Scotland would have won.

He added: "The 96 game was very unfortunate, with Gary McAllister missing the penalty and letting them off the hook.

"I think we could well have gone on to win it - but Gazza went down the other end and finished the match off.

"We'll go in as underdogs but there's no reason at all why we can't win the tie."

Boyd's international team-mate Ian Durrant, who turned in a season's-best performance for Kilmarnock in Tuesday's win over Hibs, is hoping that he will be taking part.

He said: "It's the game everyone wanted and there's no doubt it's going to be very hard.

"The whole country will look forward to it and it will be something very special to be involved in.

"It will be like an Old Firm game with a real derby atmosphere and I reckon one goal either way will decide it."
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Title Annotation:Competition/Offers
Author:Campbell, Iain
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 15, 1999
Words:314
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