It’s all the fault of Jimmy Hill

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Growing up in the early 1970s, there is no doubt the highlight of the football season was the Scotland v England game in the now defunct home internationals. The fact that both teams had played both Wales and N Ireland earlier in the tournament only heightened the tension as the game was liable to be the title decider as well.

Unfortunately, Scotland lost more games than they won during this period but there were a number of victories that were very sweetly savoured. Circumstances, therefore, dictated that, while growing up, England were regarded in a sporting context as the “auld enemy”.

I would have to admit as my sporting interests widened so did my wish that no matter what sport England were playing I automatically supported their opponents. This continues to this day, but perhaps not as fervently as it used to.

I’ve thought long and hard as to what brought this about and have come to the conclusion that it is Jimmy Hill’s fault. Will Carling also has to share some of the responsibility, given that in later years the annual rugby international was the main sporting contest between the two nations.

So as I sat down last Saturday evening to watch the Scotland v England rugby match, with a hefty bet on Scotland to win the game, I was again reminded what it is that transforms a reasonably sane normal human being into a raging bull: and it’s the national anthems.

How dare England use God Save the Queen as their national anthem prior to the match. It’s not theirs. It belongs to the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland not just one part of it. Land of Hope and Glory is their national anthem. This is exacerbated by English fans wrapping themselves in the Union Jack when it should be the flag of St George. Something in my Scottish psyche is enraged by this. How many times in news reports and the like is “England” used when the issue actually relates to Britain as a whole.

When English football fans were rioting in Europe in the 1980s, television coverage mentioned it was Britain’s shame, and Andy Murray is referred to as Scottish when he loses but British when he wins. There are lots more of the England/Britain slips on news bulletins. There was one last week on the BBC news which the reporter quickly corrected himself. Am I the only person annoyed by English teams using the national anthem prior to sporting occasions? If I am, I apologise and will seek medical help straight away.

Why don’t you let me know about your own innocuous occurrences that reach the parts other equally insignificant happenings cannot reach? Of course, if Ross Rennie had passed the ball to Mike Blair when he should have