THE Scottish independence debate has made political footballs out of all kinds of issues, but today the Yes Scotland and Better Together camps lined up on the pitch to settle the score on the field rather than at a stormy FMQs session.
The two teams, led by Yes Scotland’s Blair Jenkins and Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson respectively, played the penalty shoot-out at Spartans FC’s Ainslie Park ground in Edinburgh in aid of Scotland United Against Motor Neurone Disease.
In a result that was as close as current polls suggest, Better Together narrowly defeated their pro-independence counterparts in a 5-4 victory - with Mr Jenkins fluffing his spot kick to hand victory to the Unionists. John Park, assistant general secretary of trade union Community, saved the Yes Scotland chief’s penalty. Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, was among those who turned out for Better Together.
The match was organised after Better Together’s director of research, Gordon Aikman, was diagnosed with the degenerative condition earlier this year.
More than £60,000 has been raised for gordonsfightback.com, a website launched to heighten awareness of MND, as well as attract funding for a cure and improve care. People can also donate to the campaign by texting MNDS85 £5 to 70070.
Speaking to the Herald, Mr Aikman said: “I want to thank both Better Together and Yes Scotland for coming together and taking part in the shoot-out. Spartans Community Football Academy have also been amazing in helping with hosting the event.”
Speaking ahead of the penalty shoot-out, Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: “This is a cause that goes beyond our political differences; Scotland can and should be united against MND.”
Yes Scotland chief executive, Blair Jenkins, said: “I hope supporters of both sides of the referendum debate will join in donating as much as they can to fund a cure for this terrible disease.”