First Minister Alex Salmond said 2014 will be a “year like no other” while Prime Minister David Cameron praised Scotland as “the land of innovation” in their respective St Andrew’s Day messages.
In his message, filmed in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park and in the city’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Mr Salmond said Scotland’s national day was a time to “celebrate our history, our people and of course our culture”.
“This year, those winter festivals are particularly special, as we look forward to an amazing twelve months ahead.”
The independence referendum will be held in September, while 2014 will also see Scotland host massive sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games and golf’s Ryder Cup.
In addition, more than 400 events are planned as part of the second Year of Homecoming celebrations, which aims to attract tourists from across the world to Scotland.
The Saltire will be flying “proudly” over 10 Downing Street this weekend to mark Scotland’s patron saint day, David Cameron said.
Celebrities including Dr Who star John Barrowman, comic veteran Ronnie Corbett, entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne and rugby legend David Sole attended a Downing Street party to mark the occasion.
Mr Cameron missed the party as he was travelling to the European Union (EU) eastern partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
In his St Andrew’s Day message, Mr Cameron said: “This weekend, the Saltire flies proudly over Downing Street.
“Earlier this week, No10 played host to some of the heroes and heroines of Scotland, not just household names from TV, sport and business, but many ordinary people who day by day are doing extraordinary things.
“They were all here to mark St Andrew’s Day and to celebrate the contribution that Scots and Scotland have made to their communities, to their country and to the wider world.
“Next week I will be in China, where our UK delegation will be beating the drum for British business. And when we are there, I know we will see the decisive impact that Scots and Scottish businesses are making in the four corners of the globe.
“Indeed, wherever I go, at home and abroad, I see at first hand the inspiring contribution which Scots are making.
“I see that the land of innovation and enterprise has taken on the world, made its mark and won.
“I see that the cradle of community and compassion has extended helping hands across the seas to those in need. And I see that the birthplace of learning has informed and educated the wider world.
“Everywhere I go I see a nation of great talent and great people. A happy and proud St Andrew’s Day.”