A FORMER First Minister has backed calls to scrap Flower of Scotland as the country’s unofficial national anthem because of its alleged anti-English “chippiness”.

Labour peer Jack McConnell, who was Scotland’s First Minister between 2001 and 2007, supported calls from Scottish rugby coach Jim Telfer to replace the song with something more “positive”.

“At last the movement for a proper national anthem begins,” he said.

“If Wales and other countries can sing something positive so can the Scots.”

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser also added his support, claiming the anthem was “outdated”.

He told The Times: “The time has come to replace the outdated Flower of Scotland. Frankly it does little to stir the emotions and can be considered jingoistic with its tone and lyrics.

“As we celebrate Scottish success at the Commonwealth Games or give our backing at Hampden or Murrayfield, it would be far better going forward if Highland Cathedral was heard.”

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While Flower of Scotland was penned by Roy Williamson of Scottish folk band the Corries in 1967, Highland Cathedral was composed by German musicians Ultich Roever and Michael Korb for a Highland games held in Germany in 1982.

Jim Telfer made the comments as the release of a new film, The Grudge, details the drama of the Scottish rugby team’s dramatic 1990 Grand Slam win.

He recalled standing next to Princess Anne during his time as a coach as the English national anthem was booed by Scottish fans.

“That was a terrible atmosphere,” the 82-year-old said. “Flower of Scotland is a great song in a way and it does get the hairs on your neck straightening and standing up, but because it’s against another country, I still don’t think it’s the ideal anthem.

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“People sing that song, sing about the English, and it’s just in the moment.

“After the anthem has passed, we just get on with the game or whatever it is we’re doing. They use it at the Commonwealth Games and so on but I still don’t think it should be the national anthem. That’s still how I see it.”

The song has been sung by the Scottish national rugby team since 1990 and by the Scottish national football team since 1993.

It details the victory of the Scots over Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.