Can the Auld Enemies strike an agreement?
The Scottish Football Association has stated its desire to resurrect the annual Scotland v England match. The game used to form part of the Home International Championship, before a variety of reasons, including fixture congestion and heightened crowd trouble, brought an end to the clash of the Auld Enemies.
The teams last met in the play-offs for the European Championships in 1999, when the Scots lost 2-0 at Hampden Park before beating England 1-0 in the return leg at the old Wembley Stadium. There is little doubt that the prospect of the countries resuming hostilities is attractive, certainly in terms of filling the coffers of the SFA, whose players have not qualified for the finals of a major tournament since 1998, and will be absent at this summer's World Cup.
Perhaps that explains why the pressure to bring the match back has thus far largely emanated from north of the border. The Scotland Minister, Jim Murphy, told Westminster on Tuesday that he was keen for a return of the contest, which used to precipitate mass invasions to London by the Tartan Army every two years, and his words reflect a growing desire among many Scots for the opportunity to lock horns with their English rivals on a regular basis.
Gordon Smith, the SFA chief executive, added his voice to the campaign on Wednesday: "It is my wish that the game can be revived in some form in the near future and, indeed, we came close to reaching agreement with the Football Association in England to organise a friendly match two years ago.
"Nothing has changed in that regard, but we are willing to engage in open dialogue with our English counterparts. We have always been receptive to new ideas, culminating in the conception of the Four Nations tournament - incorporating Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland - which is scheduled to commence next year."
From a Scottish perspective, the possibility of bringing this idea to fruition has several clear benefits. Under their recently-appointed manager, Craig Levein, SFA officials are determined to locate new revenue streams and seek to arrange matches that will capture the public's imagination.
There has been little appetite for most of the friendly internationals involving the Scots in recent years, and even the meeting with the talented but erratic Argentinians, under the dubious guidance of the maverick Diego Maradona, led to more hot air in the tabloids than genuine excitement from the fans, but England would be a different proposition, especially, as is by no means impossible, if they were to return from South Africa this year with the World Cup in their possession. That, of course, would evoke comparisons with the famous tussle at Wembley in 1967 when Jim Baxter taunted his rivals, even as the visitors recorded a momentous 3-2 triumph.
Much, though, remains to be done. Sir Bobby Charlton has voiced his backing for the proposal, as have the likes of Paul McStay and Kenny Dalglish, the latter of whom was a regular thorn in England's side during his involvement in the old Home Internationals. But, with the FA's finest having enhanced their reputation while cruising through their group en route to the World Cup - where South African supporters are buying tickets to watch Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and co rather than their own side - the reality is that England can organise friendlies against anybody they like, without being forced to join a tournament where they would be automatic favourites every year and where they might only generate headlines if they failed to deliver.
One compromise suggestion might be for the FA to consider inserting an "England Lions" or "England Saxons" side into the competition, such as has occurred in cricket and rugby, featuring the cream of their young talent: those individuals who may not be quite ready to tackle the Brazils and Spains of this world, but would be well equipped to compete against the Home Nations.
That conceivably might lead to complaints from the Scots and their Celtic counterparts that their Southern neighbours were patronising them by sending a 'B' team into the fray, but if this included the likes of Theo Walcott, Joe Hart, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Micah Richards, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Wilshere, several of whom are still part of the England Under-21 side but blazing a trail in the English Premier League, it might offer a decent compromise solution. And with Stuart Pearce as coach, nobody could doubt his players would be up for the challenge.
Regardless, it is surely worth discussing this issue rather than simply saying, "It can't happen." As somebody who has watched Scotland meet England across a wide variety of sports, there is always an extra sense of pride on the (few) occasions when Scotland prevail. As long as that doesn't stray into petty xenophobia, there's nothing wrong with it.