Scottish hockey fans may bring new meaning to holiday cheer when Scotland challenge England to an indoor Christmas clash 21-23 December at the Lagoon centre in Paisley.

 “The English are traditionally strong, experienced and fit.  The Scottish emphasis for these matches will be on building young foundations. As we’ve shown in our outdoor game, most recently against Ireland, our young players are excitingly strong,” said Scotland senior men’s manager Alan Bryce.

Scotland women’s indoor coach, Gordon Shepherd said: “It’s going to be hard, even though England will be using development players. There have been some big changes in Scotland’s women’s squad and we will be bringing several uncapped players, so a less experienced side than we normally have.

We are looking at developing these players for the Europeans in January and the big picture is looking forwards to qualification for the 2011 Indoor World Cup. Everyone is excited about these games; it’s been so long since we’ve played England indoor.”

Scottish men and women will see three matches each against their southern neighbors. It’s been 14 years since Scotland men faced England indoors and almost 10 years for the women. 

Historically, Scots have a much stronger indoor record. Stats dating back to 1973 show Scotland’s men have won twelve, lost seven and drawn five against the English. The last exchange between the men took place in Kidderminster 1994 with a 7-7 result. 

The last European Championship match between the two teams took place in Birmingham, 1991.  England beat Scotland to enhance to the final before they lost to GermanyScotland went on to secure the bronze medal. 

Billy McPherson, who was coach at the time, told Scottish Hockey: “Scotland v England is always a high intensity match, no matter what sport.  Similar to football, playing England indoor is something hockey should be doing all the time.  It just seems to have dropped, so it’s good to see it back.”

Scottish women have also fared well against England.  The last time the sides met, at the 1998 EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championships in Orense, Scotland won 3-2 causing England to be relegated to B division.

Wendy Justice, who played for the 1998 Scottish indoor squad, said: “Playing against England was and is always the one you want to win. We had some real tough games against them, including the match in Orense.  In many sports Scotland is seen as the underdog to England but in women’s indoor hockey, in my day, Scotland was known for having a higher reputation than England. We went in expecting to win and it was realistic.”

Match schedule:

21 December 2007
Women: ScotlandEngland (18:15)
Men: ScotlandEngland (20:00)

22 December 2007
Women: ScotlandEngland (13:00)
Men: ScotlandEngland (16:35)

23 December 2007
Women: ScotlandEngland (11:30)
Men: ScotlandEngland (13:45)

Source: Scottish Hockey Association