ALEX Salmond has castigated opponents of the Football Act at Holyrood for choosing political point-scoring over principles.

As a long-time campaigner against sectarianism and bigotry, Salmond piloted the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act through the Scottish Parliament in 2011.

MSPs voted 65-61 to repeal the Act in January, through a Member's Bill challenging it.

On the bid to scrap the anti-bigotry legislation, Salmond said: "It is totally shameful. It is perfectly legitimate to say such legislation could be improved, or changed in certain aspects – that is what happens as legislation beds down.

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“To know what’s going on all you have to do is listen to what is being sung during certain televised matches, so why on earth in Scotland in 2018 should we accept sectarian singing in our living rooms, and anybody who does anything which sustains that and allows it to continue should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

The former First Minister of Scotland argued that opposition parties were "running away" from tackling sectarianism.

He said: “Labour is greatly to blame, and I don’t expect anything from the Tories who have little regard for eliminating sectarianism in Scotland as we have seen from the antics of some of their councillors and candidates."

“But you would hope that progressive parties would want to eliminate sectarianism and its manifestations as surely as they should want to eliminate sexism and racism – it is in the same category of evil things, and the only way to defeat it is to confront it, so to run away from that battle is a dreadful thing.

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“To do it for political purposes is pathetic and the irony is that they won’t get any thanks for it because the overwhelming majority of people in Scotland want to have done with this.

“It is putting a stain on Scotland’s reputation as a country in order to give a bloody nose to the SNP – what could be more pathetic than that?”

After the vote in January, the repeal Bill moved on to further consideration at committee level, before a final vote of all MSPs takes place.