England vs Germany: Scotland's football fans should stop supporting 'Anyone but England' – Scotsman comment

As the Euro football championship completes its line-up of quarter-finalists today, there will be some Scots attempting to find links, however spurious, to justify cheering England’s opponents and then quickly googling German football chants.

Raheem Sterling of England celebrates after scoring in the Euro 2020 game against the Czech Republic (Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

There are some who view ‘Anyone but England' as pantomime fun, a bit of ‘banter’ that is not meant to be taken seriously.

The problem is that, just as some club supporters can let similar banter between rivals get out of hand, the same is true of rivalries between national teams and the consequences are potentially greater.

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Stoking animosity between countries can spill over into animosity between individual people based on their accent or the accident of their birth. This is already more of a problem than it should be and so conscientious football fans should avoid adding to it, particularly given the context of the already passionate independence-versus-the-Union debate.

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Wiser nationalists realise that Scotland should foster friendly relations with England, regardless of our constitutional arrangements. The stalwart SNP politician, Christine Grahame MSP, once said: “To be pro-Scottish, you don't have to be anti-English… I think the Nordic nations have got it right. They're independent, but still have a close relationship.”

So, if we wish to be more like the Nordic countries, as many do, we can choose to express this by wishing England well in their clash against Germany today and celebrating with our nearest neighbours if they win or, perhaps, simply saying “well done”.

For if we “see oursels as ithers see us”, to quote Robert Burns, we’d realise that anti-England sentiment is simply not a good look and beneath the mature, confident nation that Scotland should be.

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