Flower of Scotland: lyrics of Scotland’s national anthem and Scottish football team’s song - and what it means

The song, first sung by The Corrie’s, will be played at the Euro 2020 England vs Scotland game

It’s easily the biggest game for Scotland in 23 years, the day has come when Scotland face England in the group stages of the Euros 2020.

Steve Clarke’s lads will represent their nation in what is the first opportunity in over two decades for Scotland to play at a major football tournament.

Led by Andy Robertson, the men will enter the pitch to the tune of ‘Flower of Scotland’, the national anthem.

The Scotland national team will have the support of thousands of fans who have travelled to London for the game (Picture: Getty Images)

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So, what is the song about and what are the lyrics? This is what you need to know.

What is ‘Flower of Scotland’ about?

Flower of Scotland was originally written by Roy Williamson in the 1960s, for folk band The Corrie’s.

It was rugby player Billy Steele, representing the British Lions and Scotland, who introduced the song to sports during the British Lions 1974 Tour of South Africa. (Picture: Colorsport)

Williamson wrote the song about the victory of Robert the Bruce’s Scottish army over Edward II’s England, in the battle of Bannockburn.

The 1314 battle is considered the moment when Edward acknowledged Bruce as the King of Scotland, and Scotland as an independent nation. However, Scotland’s independence was not made official until 14 years later, at the treaty of Northampton in 1328.

The opening verse says “you fought and died for your wee bit [of] Hill and Glen”, referring to Scotland’s rural landscape and the Scots who died in the battle.

It continues: “And stood against him, Proud Edward's Army, and sent him homeward tae think again,” a reference to Edward’s loss and his belief before the battle that he would win and be King of Scotland.

The song also mentions land which the English army conquered in Scotland, and how Scottish people would leave the days of English rule behind them to rise up as its own nation.

While Scotland doe not have an official national anthem, Flower of Scotland is one of the most used songs at national events and sports competitions, as well as Scotland The Brave.

When did it become the unofficial national anthem?

The song first aired for a BBC series in 1967, but was not adopted as the unofficial national anthem by sports teams until the 1970s.

It was British Lions rugby player Billy Steele who introduced it to the world of sport - encouraging his team to sing it during their South Africa tour in 1974.

The anthem was then adopted by Scotland’s national rugby team and used as their pre-game anthem during the 1990 Five Nations Championship between Scotland and England, which Scotland won 13–7 to win the Grand Slam.

By 1997, the SFA had adopted it as the pre-game anthem. It was also used by 1990s world champion boxer, Scottish Jim Watt, as his entrance song.

At the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth games, it replaced Scotland the Brave as the national anthem when Scottish competitors won gold medals.

Polls carried out have ranked the song as considered the national anthem by over 40 percent of Scots.

Flower of Scotland lyrics in full

O Flower of Scotland,

When will we see

Your like again,

That fought and died for,

Your wee bit Hill and Glen,

And stood against him (against who?),

Proud Edward's Army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.

The Hills are bare now,

And Autumn leaves

lie thick and still,

O'er land that is lost now,

Which those so dearly held,

That stood against him (against who?),

Proud Edward's Army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.

Those days are past now,

And in the past

they must remain,

But we can still rise now,

And be the nation again,

That stood against him (against who?),

Proud Edward's Army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.


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