SCOTLAND versus England was once a rare sporting occasion where people from both sides of the Border could embrace their Scottishness or Englishness for 90 hard-fought minutes.

On Tuesday past, this opportunity was given to us all again. The oldest rivalry in football returned for the first time since 2021. Both nations braced themselves for the chance to get one over the other, with all the bragging right up for grabs.

Needless to say, Scotland didn’t turn up. England played much better than us, and were thoroughly deserving of their victory at Hampden that night. Yet, in the aftermath of the match. I found myself taking great offence over an alleged Scottish football icon, one Mr Ally McCoist, who decided to take it upon himself to publicly condemn the Tartan Army for booing God Save the King.

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I couldn’t help but think: "Who are you to speak out on it? It isn’t our anthem is it, Ally? Did they England supporters at Wembley not resoundingly boo Flower of Scotland back in 2021? I don’t recall you saying anything about that, mate?’’

The truth is I view this "national anthem" for what is. Nothing more than an oath to a self-appointed family who have prospered for centuries on the pain and suffering of the working class. Not just here in Scotland, but all of whom who live in the British Isles. You just need to play those four ominous words at Anfield, and you will soon find that booing this lullaby of the British establishment is more contagious than Mr McCoist would ever care to accept.

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I also found it odd that he felt no need to rightfully point out that English supporters booed the minute silence for a true Scottish footballing legend, former manager Craig Brown. As it happens, a man who managed Super Ally at a Euro 96. No, he did not object to that chorus of boos - instead choosing to become an apologetic Scot, compelled to jump on his moral high horse to lambast the Scottish supporters.

I can’t say I’m all that surprised though, to be honest. Afterall I’m sure this is his attempt to generate popcorn headlines which will no doubt ensure a couple of more zeros to his eye-watering contracts with English broadcasters. Would you ever witness Alan Shearer, for example. lambasting England supporters for booing any other national anthem from any other country? No chance. He wouldn’t dare. And to be fair to Shearer, I respect that.

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Football is, let’s be frank about it, a highly passionate sport - something that seems lost on Mr McCoist but only when it suits him. Could you imagine Denis Law or Kenny Dalglish attempting to demonise the Tartan Army for daring to vocalise their pride in being Scottish? I mean, this was a match between Scotland and England. Not the Northen UK versus Southern UK.

I aired these views about McCoist on Twitter, which, as you can imagine, caused a lot of controversy. Most people supported what I said, including lots of English people who seemed to fully appreciate what God Save the King represents. An outdated idea that some are born above others.

I received threating emails, too. People calling me a nutter nationalist. I even had some declaring that they were going to buy my novel A Working Class State of Mind and shred it. My only complaint to that was can you not buy 10 and shred them? I just hope they carry that sentiment onto the sequel Who’s Aldo?, which is published by Scottish publisher Tippermuir Books this November.

Follow Colin Burnett on X/Twitter here.