There are sporting occasions that are bigger than the game itself.
The Grand National, the London Marathon, the Boat Race – contests woven into the fabric of UK society.
A Scotland versus England football match – the oldest international fixture in the world – is another of those events.
And since the annual clash ceased in 1989 those encounters which do go ahead, thanks to the luck of the World Cup or European Championship draw, are there to be savoured.
Perhaps this one more than ever.
The participation of the national side in the Euro 2020 tournament – the first time we’ve qualified since 1996 – has proved to be just the tonic for pandemic-weary Scots.
As we emerge from the most challenging year-and-a-half in living memory – these games should have gone ahead last summer but were postponed, like everything else, due to Covid-19 – there’s an understandable appetite for a good time.
We might not have been able to gather in large numbers due to coronavirus restrictions, but the opportunity to cheer on Steve Clarke’s men has brought the whole country together in a different way.
Yes Sir We Can Party
The supporters filmed pouring off trains on Thursday were displaying the good natured exuberance for which the Tartan Army has become renowned.
And as the capital’s streets fill up with fans in waves of blue and tartan, bellowing Yes Sir I Can Boogie – the stage is set for a night to remember.
Friday’s Euro 2020 game will be the 115th time the two home nations have met – and the first at Wembley since 2016 when the Scots were sent packing after a 3-0 defeat.
Scotland fans aren’t known for their wild optimism – not since we got our fingers burned so badly in Argentina in 1978 – but our 41 wins aren’t that far behind England’s 48 and anything can happen in 90 minutes.
Win, lose or draw, it’s shaping up to be a memorable occasion.
But oh wouldn’t it be nice if we won?