TENS of thousands of Tartan Army footsoldiers are being polled on whether “Flower of Scotland” should be adopted as the country’s national anthem.
The Scottish Football Association is conducting an online survey of the 35,000 members of its official supporters club.
The poll, which will also be promoted on its Facebook and Twitter pages, has been launched just weeks after MSPSs were petitioned to make the song the famous Corries song the country’s official anthem.
The Scottish Government has been urged to stage a formal consultation on various options, including commissioning a brand new song.
However the SFA, which is carrying out the survey over the next few days, believes the answer to the debate should come from supporters of the national side - and especially those who pay to attend games home and away to cheer on their favourites.
Flower of Scotland, which has been sung before major international football matches for more than two decades, has never been officially adopted as the country’s anthem, although the Commonwealth Games team voted for it to replace “Scotland the Brave” five years ago.
Memebers of the Tartan Army are being asked whether they favour Flower of Scotland as the national anthem and, if not, which others songs should be considered instead, including Highland Cathedral, Caledonia or Scotland the Brave.
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The SFA, which has invited the likes of Ricky Ross, Amy Macdonald and Donnie Munro to perform Flower of Scotland at Hampden, said the parliament’s petitions committee had asked the governing body for its views on the matter.
Darryl Broadfoot, the SFA’s head of communications, said: “We feel it is only right that our view is shaped by our fans and, in the first instance, our 35,000 Scotland Supporters Club members.
“We have also issued the survey via our social media channels - to an audience in excess of 500,000 fans and followers - and will announce the results to the petitions committee later this week.
“Flower of Scotland is a hugely popular anthem among our support, especially at Hampden Park, and has been performed by some of the country’s most famous artists.”
Hamish Husband, spokesman for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: “There is an issue with Flower of Scotland as it is not easy to sing and play on the bagpipes at the same time. The crowd are always singing along to a different beat.
“It’s not the national anthem of Scotland and I’m not convinced it should be, but it really suits football and rugby because it is a call to battle.
“It’s not universally popular and is seen by some people seen as overly-nationalistic in a political sense. I would suggest it is ideal as a sporting anthem. I’m sure the majority of Scotland fans will choose Flower of Scotland.
“Highland Cathedral would bore you to death before a football match and Caledonia would have folk bursting into tears.”
The Scottish Government has given a cautious response to the calls for Flower of Scotland to be adopted as an official anthem, saying it merely “saw the value” in having for one major sporting occasions.
Despite its popularity, many people have reservations about Flower of Scotland, written by the late Roy Williamson of the Corries. Critics say it harbours anti-English sentiment by harking back to Bannockburn.
But presenting his petition to Holyrood in January, Chris Cromar, an Aberdeen University student, argued that the verse of Flower of Scotland beginning, “Those days are gone now, and in the past they must remain” addressed these concerns.