Pride or prejudice?

The oldest international football fixture in the world, Scotland v England games have represented all that is good and bad about the sport since the two nations first played each other at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, in 1872.

Hampden Park and Wembley stadium have played host to many an intense battle. However a bitter rivalry, or what has perhaps been more accurately described by the BBC as “a thinly-veiled feeling bordering on hatred”, so often spilled into violence on the streets of Glasgow and London that the annual fixture was abandoned in 1989.

The footballing rivalry has diminished in recent years, with England fans developing rivalries with Germany and Argentina that are now considered to be more important than the historic rivalry with Scotland. Nonetheless, Scotland fans continue to sing “Stand up if you hate England” and, “If you hate the f****** English, clap your hands.”

So why do Scots, many of whom have English friends and relatives, choose to voice their ‘hatred’ of the Auld Enemy – even when playing against ‘neutral’ opponents?

To find the answer, one has to look at the history of the British Isles and the social and cultural effects of centuries of antagonism and conflict between the two.

Read full story in the July 14 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.