I was fascinated to hear some Scots fans in the radio this morning being asked questions about the big Euro 2008 Qualification match against Italy. Most spoke of their pride, some mentioned that Scotland had done the whole country proud, but then some fans just spoke about how they hope Israel will lose to Russia so England don't qualify. I thought I was hearing things. A chance for Scotsmen to talk of their pride in their nation, and some just chose to slag off England.
A colleague of mine who is Scottish recalled to me recently how a bloke in a pub near where she came from was beaten up during the 2000 tournament because he said "Yes" when England scored. Basically, a load of racists Scots took him out and "did him over".
What ever does it say about a nation that some people act like that about their near neighbours, their fellow citizens.
It's nothing new of course. After Euro 96 when England beat Scotland 2-0 there was a widely reported case in Dundee where people were randomly asked for the time. If they had English accents they were then punched.
I know of no problems with Scottish people wearing Scotland tops in English pubs. I would be mightily surprised if I ever came across a pub where there was a problem with Scots in their watching a Scotland game getting abuse from English people, so why is the reverse not true in Scotland.
Most Scots are proud of their nation, but show a degree of compassion and understanding that they accept people for not being Scottish. I just wish the rest would treat the English as Scots are treated in England. So many people in England have their fingers crossed that sScotland will qualify. They play with more pride and passion than the England team and really are a team that shows that the whole is worth more than the sum of their parts. Everyone loves a team like that. Good luck Scotland.
Update : Scotland lost 2-1. Very unlucky indeed. I thought they were the better team by far.