Last month I wrote about confidence in relation to the Scottish football team. My final comment was that I thought the supporters’ confidence was a fragile thing and I feared that one defeat could destroy it. There have been two defeats since then. One with a weakened team to Georgia and yesterday’s defeat by one goal to Italy, the current world champions. Leaving the National Stadium last night after the game and in the bar afterwards I listened carefully to what was being said around me. With only one or two exceptions the comments were very positive. Unfortunately, one of the negative comments I heard in a bar led me into an argument.

The chap behind me described Scotland’s defeat and the results in England’s group as “the worst day in history”!!! I couldn’t let that one go. I pointed out that perhaps the death of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which started the First World War, Hitler’s army’s invasion of Poland, the battle of Culloden were much worse with which the man agreed. The second point was more important. So many Scots appear to think that hating the English because they are English is okay. People who would never think of criticising someone for being black or Asian or Roman Catholic or gay seem to think it is fine to knock the English for their nationality. Sometimes I ignore it but last night I could not let it go. Let’s be proud to be Scottish but only because we are Scottish. Not because we are not English.

And rightly criticise the English based media for their obsession with England to the exclusion of the other nations which make up the United Kingdom. But do not knock them simply for being English. That’s racism and we should have no room for it in our country or our lives.

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