AN assault on a seven-year-old boy who was punched and kicked while playing in a city park for wearing an England shirt was today widely condemned as bringing "shame on Scotland".
Hugo Clapshaw was enjoying a kickabout in Edinburgh's Inverleith Park when a man punched him on the head before growling: "This is Scotland, not f****** England."
The seven-year-old's dad Damon, 34, who comes from New Zealand and works in finance, feared he would be stabbed as he was beaten after chasing the violent Rangers fan.
Today, senior Scots roundly condemned the assault for bringing shame on Edinburgh and Scotland.
City council leader Donald Anderson said he was appalled by the attack.
"This is an appalling and vicious crime and it does not reflect Edinburgh opinion," he said.
"Everyone will be saddened and appalled and we can only hope the perpetrator can be caught
quickly and brought to justice. There is a huge chunk of the Edinburgh population, including myself, who are backing England in the World Cup."
But he said he did not think the attack showed World Cup fever getting out of hand.
"There is always a tiny minority of extremely stupid people. If they didn't latch on to this they would latch on to something else."
Scottish Nationalist Lothians MSP Kenny MacAskill, a dedicated football supporter, also condemned the attack.
"This is pure hooliganism and those who perpetrate it should be punished. We need to get a sense of perspective - this is a football tournament, people are entitled to support whoever they like.
"Those who misbehave and use it as an excuse for violence must be dealt with. But these are still, thankfully, isolated incidents." Mr MacAskill said the World Cup itself had so far been remarkably trouble-free.
"It is rather sad, therefore, that Scotland should have this shame brought upon itself."
The attack on Saturday afternoon shocked the family, who live in the New Town. The thug, believed to be aged 25 to 30, bounded past 3ft 6ins Hugo before punching him and shouting: "You f****** English w*****," then walked away.
Damon then chased after him but the thug punched him to the ground and kicked him.
"I ran after him to ask why he did it. He was wild faced, full of rage, eyes bulging. He had unzipped his puffa jacket and was touching the crest of his Rangers shirt. I decided to walk away and go back to my family.
"But as my back was turned, he ran up and punched me on the jaw. Then he punched me on the head. I fell and he kicked me. I thought he might even stab me after he reached into his pocket."
Damon had been enjoying a day out with wife Kirsty, 35, who is originally from Inverness, Hugo, and their other children Lily, four, and seven-month-old Skye.
"If we'd been lager louts shouting from the rooftops after an English victory over Scotland I'd understand local anger," he said.
"It's sad that Scotland aren't playing in the World Cup but the top represented a British team.
"What happened is a sad indictment of Scotland."
Hugo said: "The man whacked me very hard. He was a lot bigger than me and looked angry. But I am still going to wear the top. My mum bought it for me because I'm supporting England in the World Cup. I enjoy watching them because they are so skilful but I'd support Scotland if they were there."
Damon added: "Hugo could be best described as a Kilted Kiwi. You know what children are like - their loyalties change by the second and this time next year he could be supporting Afghanistan."
A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "We will not be advising people not to wear English shirts. This was a cowardly and pathetic attack."
Tartan Army spokesman Hamish Husband said: "This was a mindless act of violence. Scots fans have a proud tradition of wearing other teams' strips, even England."
A spokesman for Show Racism the Red Card said: "We are absolutely disgusted by this moronic assault."
Damon added: "The whole thing was very surprising. Hugo goes to a school where the nationalities range from Portuguese, to Polish to Swedish and I have never heard of anything like this.
"The guy must have been on CCTV. Someone said to me that a child can wear a Celtic strip in Scotland and someone who supports Rangers would never resort to this type of behaviour."
A spokeswoman for the Commission for Racial Equality said: "We cannot condone it when someone gets picked on because of who they are or what they represent. The bullying of children in this way is very inappropriate."
Deputy justice minister Hugh Henry said: "What does this say about Scottish tolerance?"
The attack comes just days after Tony Blair rebuked Scots who support any team playing against England at the World Cup. The Prime Minister's comments were seen as a veiled criticism of First Minister, Jack McConnell, who announced he would not be cheering for England in the World Cup.
DISABLED MAN DRAGGED FROM CAR AND BEATEN AS BIGOT SEES RED OVER SHIRT
A DISABLED man was left with a black eye after being assaulted for wearing an England shirt. Ian Smith, 41, from Aberdeen, was sitting in his parked car when he was dragged from the vehicle and beaten.
Mr Smith, who is originally from Peterborough, struggled with his attacker and was left requiring treatment for injuries to his face.
He was left with a badly-bruised right eye and double vision as a result of the unprovoked attack.
Mr Smith said: "He came up to the car and gave me a load of abuse about supporting England. I told him there was no need for all this bigotry because it's only football but he grabbed the flag, snapped it in half, then pulled me out of the car and threw me to the ground.
"I've lived in Aberdeen for years but this is the first time I've ever suffered a physical racist attack."
Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg was "sickened" by the attack. She said: "Aberdeen is a dynamic, multi-cultural city which is known for being welcoming to all people. It's very upsetting that someone could attack another man purely for being English."
She said she planned to ask the Prime Minister to join her in condemning the attack in Parliament.
She added: "In a city where we have a very popular English Lord Provost, I am quite sure others in Aberdeen will be absolutely disgusted."