The mere mention of his name is enough to send shivers down the spine of most Tartan Army conscripts.
Since the Spurs star tore Scottish hearts – and their defence – to shreds at Cardiff last October, the shadow of a man who has run riot in the Barclays Premier League and across Europe has hung over our national team.
But the 23-year-old has been on the radar of Scotland boss Gordon Strachan for much longer – the last decade, to be precise.
So, if anyone knows his strengths – and weaknesses – it is surely the man charged with sending out the Scotland side to nullify his threat.
Bale's initial steps on the ladder of success were taken at Southampton, where the manager just happened to be Strachan.
He recalled: "Gareth was only a kid on an S Form. I saw Theo Walcott – who was also there at that time – more than I saw Gareth.
"Have a look at how many good young players were at Southampton at that time. They were a terrific bunch."
However, it is only Bale who will be in the spotlight tonight, though Strachan hopes his players keep him subdued.
The man who replaced Craig Levein after he was sacked following defeat in Cardiff then Brussels in the double-header which left Scotland in bottom position in qualifying Group A knows it is time to gamble, throw off the shackles which have got the World Cup campaign off to a poor start, and give a nation hope once again.
All of which can only be achieved with victories, starting tonight, when the halfway point in the qualifying programme is reached.
Strachan has already instilled more positivity. The players appear far happier obeying his instructions which lay great importance at the door of entertainment and attacking, but are rooted in gaining results.
The manager has had only the friendly against Estonia at Pittodrie last month to get his message across.
That game brought a much-needed victory, but now the serious business resumes with a game which fits neatly into the win-or-bust category.
The apprehension of meeting a new manager for the first time has been replaced by the tension which always accompanies competitive matches.
Strachan can sense the change, and is grateful he had the opportunity to get the introductions out of the way in Aberdeen.
"It's different for us all now," he said. "They were not sure about me, but we are all right now and we are more comfortable with each other.
"Not that there any problems. I just feel part of them now."
Something he always felt easier to achieve when he was a club boss and had the attention of his players every day of the week throughout the season.
As a national team boss, he accepts he is being loaned players for a short time, but has made the most of the preparation time afforded him.
Strachan said: "You need hours and hours to work with players. But what we can't be accused of is wasting any of the hours we have had.
"We have coached them in where we are meant to be and what we are meant to be doing when the ball is in certain areas of the pitch."
That organisation will be crucial tonight against a Welsh side who are better than their Group A position would indicate.
If Scotland are to overhaul them, and get back somewhere near the coat-tails of leaders Belgium and Croatia, they will need to take at least four points from tonight's game and Tuesday's match in Serbia.
Many believe the ship to Rio has already sailed, but Strachan is only thinking about tonight. Even next week's trip to Novi Sad – which could be undertaken with a spring in the step if they can win tonight – is beyond his radar for now.
"I'm in a bubble at the moment," he explained. "All I am thinking about is playing Wales. Mark McGhee has done a bit about Serbia in the last couple of days. I've not looked at them yet.
"But I understand that it makes you feel better winning games. Winning and getting performances is fantastic. But rarely do you get a win and a great performance."
Strachan would settle for winning this time, and the Tartan Army will be willing him to achieve it to provide another sign that the national team has turned the corner.
He is the people's champion, but with this comes huge responsibility, which the 56-year-old shoulders with pride.
His emotions were on public view before the Estonia game, and he feels he knows what to expect now.
"I'm quite happy I got over that with the game in Aberdeen," he said of the pull this gig had on his heart-strings.
"It's a kind of strange feeling being head coach of a nation. I don't know how I'm going to react, I just know that all of my family is going to be here."
All bar one very important member, his dad, Jim, who passed away in 2011 after a long illness.
During that time, his son helped keep up his spirits by, among other things, taking him to football matches, just as Jim had taken Gordon when he was a youngster.
"It would be great if he could have been here," said Strachan. "But in saying that, through football we spent loads of great time together.
"With my dad, I spent some wonderful times, and I was able to do that probably far more than any other father-and-son combination.
"But my mother is going to be here, and she is never at games.I think she only saw me play in about five matches throughout my entire career."
Here's hoping Cathie brings her son's team more luck than they endured in Cardiff when a still-unexplained call to rule out a Steven Fletcher 'goal' opened the door for Wales.
Those selected will be informed today, but the tactics have been laid bare all week.
"I've had a shape in mind for a long time, and now I've settled on my team," said Strachan. "Everyone knows exactly what we want. The style we play should suit everyone in the squad."
Fingers crossed, the result suits them just as much.