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Andy Murray Wimbledon: Alex Salmond faces flag row

First Minister Alex Salmond with a Saltire after Andy Murray's victory in the Wimbledon final. Picture: SNS

First Minister Alex Salmond with a Saltire after Andy Murray's victory in the Wimbledon final. Picture: SNS

Scottish first minister Alex Salmond today said that Wimbledon officials had no issue with him waving a large Saltire flag in the Royal Box following Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final win.

The SNP leader sparked a brief flurry of political criticism for unfurling the Scottish flag during Andy Murray’s historic final

When Dunblane-born Murray broke Djokovic’s serve to go 5-4 up in the third set, David Cameron jumped up in celebration in the Royal Box.

As cameras focused in on the Prime Minister, Mr Salmond unfurled the blue and white cross of St Andrew directly behind him.

The stunt appeared to contravene tight All England Club regulations.

Its website states that “large flags (over 2ft by 2ft), banners, rattles, klaxons or oversized hats” are among prohibited items at the club.

However Mr Salmond insisted his actions had not upset the All England Club.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “The All England Club were ladies and gentlemen about it, they are nice people.”

The First Minister added: “The Saltire is our national flag, Andy is a fantastic, magnificent Scottish sportsman, anybody has got the right to wave the national flag, it’s a great way to celebrate this amazing triumph.”

Murray’s victory may be the “pinnacle of Scottish sporting triumph”, the First Minister said.

“It’s right up there, it’s up there with Chris Hoy, or Celtic and the European Cup,” he stated.

“It’s an amazing victory. Paul Lawrie, Sandy Lyle in the Open. It’s probably the pinnacle. He says it’s the pinnacle of tennis, this might be the pinnacle of Scottish sporting triumph.

“It’s an absolutely astonishing triumph.”

He hailed the tennis star as the “king of Scotland” as he suggested a reception for him could be held in Stirling Castle, near Dunblane, where Murray grew up.

When asked what plans there were to honour the sportsman, Mr Salmond said: “He’s already got the freedom of Stirling, I was thinking of a reception in Stirling Castle, which has got a nice sort of home town ring to it with Dunblane, something like that.

“But Andy is king of Scotland, he can have anything he likes.”

The First Minister’s flag-waving was criticised as a “stunt” by some political rivals ahead of next year’s referendum on Scottish independence.

Shadow Scotland Office minister Willie Bain posted on Twitter: “In my experience, real tennis fans support their favourite players for who they are and how they play - let’s keep the stunts out of it.”

Liberal Democrat chief whip Alistair Carmichael penned a memo to the tournament organisers, saying: “Thank you for looking after the FM today. Next year, can you please search him more carefully?”

He added the hashtag #cringe.

SEE ALSO:

Andy Murray Wimbledon: Dunblane celebrates hero

Tom English: No ghosts, only greatness

Stuart Bathgate: Scot wins toughest game of his life to make history

Alix Ramsay: Murray paves the way for a legacy

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Andy Murray Wimbledon: Alex Salmond faces flag row

 

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