A day after Andy Murray put a spring in the nation’s step after helping Team GB to victory in the Davis Cup, political leaders reflected on the country’s successes over the past year while also paying tribute to what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described as the “warm welcome” and “kindness” of its people.
In her special message, Ms Sturgeon said that St Andrew – who spoke up for the underprivileged – represented the kindness Scots show now to those who come to the country in search of peace.
She said: “St Andrew, who is renowned as the ‘fisher of men’, is a perfect embodiment of the warm welcome and kindness which we extend to all who come to Scotland.
“St Andrew spoke up for the less privileged. He was responsible for drawing attention to the existence of the loaves and fishes which eventually fed the 5,000. He championed the minority and saw that they were included.
“At this time, when the world is touched by terror and people are fleeing their homeland in search of peace, Scotland can draw from its patron saint and continues to be a place of safe haven.
“We are a nation which has welcomed and will continue to welcome many people from across the world over the years. From China to Poland, from Syria to India, people have brought their cultures and traditions to this country. Our communities have benefited and so has the richness of our lives, making Scotland the thriving country it is today.”
Prime Minister David Cameron used his St Andrew’s Day message to say that Scotland “helps put the Great in Great Britain”, noting how Andy and Jamie Murray helped lead the Davis Cup team to glory with “fantastic tennis”.
He also spoke about the acclaimed performances at the Rugby World Cup from Greg Laidlaw and the entire Scottish rugby team.
Scottish soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan celebrated St Andrew’s Day in Kabul with a traditional bagpipe salute.
Piper Kevin Glover, of The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 Scots), commemorated Scotland’s national day outside the battalion’s base at Camp Qargha.
At Edinburgh Airport, the day was marked with the unveiling of two large thistle sculptures (see opposite).
Meanwhile, one enterprising pupil at a Lanarkshire school used the country’s national day to try and convince his teachers to give him some time off.
Andrew Ewing, who attends St Gerard’s Primary in Bellshill, penned to note to his headteacher reasoning that because of his patron saint namesake, he should be entitled to a holiday.
Head teacher Ian Conaghan arranged for the seven-year-old and classmates to enjoy an extra long playtime during the day, as an extended lunch break.
Mr Conaghan said: “We are all very proud of Andrew and it only goes to show that sometimes you only have to ask.
“His mother told him not to get his hopes up and that he may get a disappointing letter back. His response to his mum was ‘Believe’.”